You Have To Have A Plan

There were three things that I can attribute to my success in the classroom:

  • Take care of the people who take care of you – custodians, IT department, and secretaries
  • Never do anything that you think will cause a meeting
  • You can’t call an audible if you haven’t called a play

The first one is the easiest. An email to say thank you, a note on their birthday, and just openly communicate what you are doing or need go a long way with these people. I always got my custodian a gift card for Christmas – they have keys to everything and know more than everyone with the exception of the secretaries. For the secretaries, stopping by just to say hello, having good sub plans, making sure you communicate if you are going to have kids in the hallway or are working somewhere other than your classroom, helped me to help them. I could go on for days about how to take care of your IT department but for the sake of brevity, communicate with them early and often and don’t ever surprise them.
Point Two is one that I instilled in my students on day one. “If you think it is going to cause a meeting, stop. Ask questions and don’t proceed until you know for sure that it won’t cause a meeting.” This was put in play with story ideas, jokes, etc.

Finally, the most important of the three is to have a plan. I am a planning freak. I plan everything. I plan every aspect of my life. Dr. Miki Edwards, my first Principal, joked that when she was checking references that someone told her that when I was in radio, I knew down to the ounce how much sunscreen was needed for our staff. It was no different in the classroom.

I was always among the first to know the upcoming school year’s schedules for sports, events, etc. I wanted to know those things so I could make a plan for the next year. I admit that I was the person you probably hated. I had a plan for the next year before the current year ended. I always had time to work on the plan for the next year because within 4-6 weeks, the plan for this year was in effect and my planning time was spent planning for the next year not the next day (It’s ok to roll your eyes… you can’t say or think anything about my that my wife hasn’t already…)

The good news is that I also saved everything because you never know if you are going to need it… or want to share it!

This link is for a spreadsheet that I used to plan for years. It’s comprehensive and probably more than you want but it’ll be yours to use however you want. There are 4 tabs on the sheet:

  • Announcements – Sports: This is a way for you to keep up with the specific dates for typically important sports news. Start dates, senior nights, etc
  • Social Media: This is a sheet for you to schedule your social media for the year. There are four options for each day – Facebook (FB), Instagram (IG), Twitter (TW), and Snapchat (SC). You don’t have to, nor should you post, to all four every day but this sheet will give you the ability to plan and see what you have going on.
  • Daily News: This is my pacing guide for a daily news show. Using this, you will cover 90% of your standards multiple times and be able to produce a daily news show while teaching new content and techniques. This guide assumes that after week 3 you will break the class into two groups. One will produce the news, the other will work on the new content.
  • Weekly news: This guide gives you a pace for producing one news show a week and assumes you will spend a day or two at the beginning of the week teaching the new techniques.

I hope this helps you get ready for the next school year and gives you some time to be able to relax and plan out farther than you have in the past. Again, I give this practice a major role in my successes in the classroom.