1) Merge Personal and Professional Calendars
September is one of the most exciting months of the year for teachers, however it can also be an extremely busy month both professionally and personally. Planning and being on top of meetings and plans is essential. By merging all of your calendars into one, you will never miss or mix up meetings because they will all be in one place. Plus, you can schedule “to-dos” from your never-ending list into all of your available time. Having one calendar changed my life during my second year of teaching. I made the switch after reading “The Together Teacher” by Maia Heyck-Merlin. For more calendar and time-management inspiration for teachers check out Maia’s website: http://www.thetogethergroup.com/.
2) Schedule Parent Meetings ASAP
Most of your students, no matter what age, are brilliant, perfect, engaged angels on the first day of school. Sometimes the angel phase even lasts for the first few weeks. But as September fades into October, all sweet kids can start to test their teachers. When a student fails to meet the expectations you set on the first day, talk to the other teachers who have this student and schedule a parent meeting as soon as possible to address any issues, especially seemingly small ones. Make sure all grade-level teachers can attend the meeting and make sure the student is present.
3) Unite Your Grade-Level Team
No matter what is routine or policy at your school, make sure your grade level team of teachers has daily communication. When I lead my 5th grade team at KIPP Intrepid, I made sure to check in with the other 5th grade teachers daily during our planning periods. In our brief meetings, we would discuss grade-level issues and create solutions immediately. Creating solutions together as a team sometimes meant that our grade level norms and procedures were different from the other grade levels at our school. This turned out to be a positive for our grade level culture because our procedures and norms were tailored to our students’ needs. Our daily meetings also helped us all feel united and on the same page as each other.
This post was written by Becca Lett, the Member Success Manager at The Graide Network. She taught middle school for four years in Houston, Texas before joining The Graide Network Team in July 2016.