Sunday, Monday, happy days,
Tuesday, Wednesday, happy days,
Thursday, Friday, happy days,
The weekend comes, my cycle hums
Ready to race to you
–Happy Days Theme Song
This isn’t usually the song I hear teachers hum as they race to the front office at 8:30 a.m. on a Monday morning. The tunes I usually hear are probably not fit to print (especially when the copier doesn’t respond to a Fonzie-like fist)! With a little bit of fine-tuning, you can get your work schedule rockin’ and rollin’ all week long!
One year, I found myself drowning at work because of new responsibilities and my own high expectations. Twelve-hour days eventually seemed short, and I found myself going back over work I had done because I could not remember what I had completed. Frustrated, I knew I had to come up with a better system.
I settled on assigning each day of the week a central task. Yes, there were other items I completed in the day, but this task was most important. Here’s an example of my weekly list:
Monday: Student conversations list. At the beginning of each week, I make an Outlook task list of the students I need to check in with during the week. I try to talk to each of my students every day, but some could use a little more time.
Tuesday: Good news shared. I take a few minutes to praise students to another person. Sometimes I send emails home, and other times I share a success with the students’ other teachers. When a student who has struggled makes good choices, I share that information with administration.
Wednesday: Empty the inbox. Mid-week is a great time to make sure that the emails that have come in thus far during the week are processed. Check that your district’s server holds your deleted emails and thus frees you to keep a clean inbox. The only items in my inbox are emails I need to respond to or items on which I am waiting.
Thursday: Lesson plans and copies. I review the lessons we will learn next week and set out the manipulatives, determine transitions, and define groups that we will use. Because fewer people are likely to use the copier as the week goes on, this is a perfect time for copying.
Friday: Clean off desk. It’s almost the weekend. Many people are prone to leave tasks until Monday; however, finishing the items on your desk today will give you a sense of calm over the weekend and help you start Monday off strong.
Your list of weekly items may not look the same as the ones listed above, and that’s ok. Personalize the list to the weekly tasks that you need to complete. Refer back to the list each day so that you are focused on the tasks.
These happy days are yours and mine!
Allison Venuto, more of a fan of director Ron Howard than actor Ron Howard, has been teaching in the Dallas area for 10 years and owns Ducks in a Row Personal Organizing. Please contact her with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Views and opinions expressed in guest posts are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of ATPE.