Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What's Your Weekly Schedule?

As a classroom teacher, your schedule is usually created for you with maybe a little flexibility, but not much. Things such as students arrival, subjects taught, recess, electives and computer lab (if lucky enough to have them as a prep time), lunch and dismal are all predetermined. I was used to that structure. I knew what to expect each day and I could create my lesson plans accordingly. I need that structure in my life, without it, I feel lost, disorganized and without a purpose. To me, life without structure is like a leaf in the wind.

Life as an Ed Tech

Life as an Ed Tech in our district does not inherit the detailed, schedule structure of the classroom teacher. We are handed guidelines to our schedule, which entailed our assigned school sites, our contracted work hours with a thirty-minute lunch break. Now to a classroom teacher, I already can hear people cheering and screaming the word, "FREEDOM!!!!" Yes, we have the freedom to create our own schedules. I'm sure many people would love this flexibility and freedom, but personally it gives me anxiety!

For the past seven years, I've lived in a world where I was able to plan, even backwards plan, my entire school year. I had pacing guides to help guide my instruction, and a daily schedule that provided the structure for the content of my day. Now, I found myself staring at my blank lesson plan book without a clue where to begin. And yes, even as an Ed Tech who truly utilizes Google calendar, I couldn't resist the free lesson plan book from Lakeshore. I am planning to use both this year, but my lesson plan book will become more of my life planner to include work and home events.

My Solution 

As the new school year was approaching, my anxiety about my daily schedule grew. I needed to create my own structure within my guidelines to calm my fears. Since I have seven schools, I couldn't easily give each site the same time each week. I thought about rotating the days of the week I visited each site, however that was quickly ruled out. If my daily schedule changed every week, would I be able to quickly communicate my schedule or would my sites and teachers remember when I was available for support? No, that would've been too confusing. After brainstorming, I finally stumbled upon a solution that I'm very happy to try out this year!

This Schedule is Golden

With this schedule, it gives me a sense of direction. Every Monday, I'll start my day at the same school. This site is one of my schools that has already implemented 1:1 iPads in TK and Kinder. Every classroom follows the same early half day schedule, where students are dismissed at 11:50. I can meet with teachers in the afternoon, or plan and develop future Professional Development trainings. I have set a personal goal to offer district wide professional development every Monday afternoon. With this schedule on Mondays, it provides me the opportunity to have built in time to prepare. For Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays each week, I will alternate every other week which schools I will be visiting. This schedule creates a predictable pattern for myself, and my teachers that can easily be remember. Also, when deciding which schools were assigned on Wednesdays, I selected two of my schools that have early release on Wednesday for collaboration and planning. I intentionally selected schools with this planning time in the afternoon, so I will hopefully have more available to help in planning and collaboration with these teams. Lastly, I left Friday unassigned for two big reasons. First, our team meetings are held on the first and third Friday's of the month. Second, this gives me time to follow up with teachers that I might have needed more time with during the week. This day allows me to have flexibility to meet the needs of my teachers without missing appointments due to team meetings. This schedule has provided me with the structure I needed to feel ready to provide support to my teachers.