We are all more than teachers. . . We are also family members, friends, parents, church leaders, community organizers, amateur bowlers, runners, and chefs. At school alone, many of us take on additional responsibilities like becoming grade level leaders, department chairs, coaches, committee heads, or parent liaisons.
So many roles (and so many hats to wear), at home and at work, fall outside of our regular teaching duties. They are interesting and fulfilling, but they also compete for our time and attention.
Ge’ron’s a middle school math teacher in Kansas City and the father of a young son (with one more on the way). Ge’ron participates very actively in his church, teaches three sections of math, and has been named grade level chair. At Ge’ron’s school, the grade level chair role has significant responsibilities related to parent communication, student discipline, staff communication, and field trip planning. . . in other words, Ge’ron is a busy man!
Ge’ron has decided to get super Together as grade level chair. Here are the steps he follows to be the most effective and efficient leader possible (which helps him be the best math teacher and dad he can be, too!)
1. Before the Meeting: Once per week, Ge’ron’s school principal meets with all grade level chairs and shares with them any information he wants communicated to staff. During this meeting, Ge’ron uses his iPad to take notes in a running Thought Catcher planted in Documents to Go (so he can later access it from his laptop).
2. Meeting Preparation: Ge’ron then creates the meeting agenda for his team, carefully breaking it into sections and listing action steps the team will take. He uses his after school time to create this agenda. Check it out below!
3. During the Meeting: The whole team takes notes on a paper-based Group Meeting Notes template. Laptop use is not permitted at Ge’ron’s school during meetings, so paper-based notetaking is essential.
4. Following the Meeting: Ge’ron or a team member sends out typed up notes from the Group Meeting Notes template. The team’s next steps are then revisited at the next meeting.
I asked Ge’ron why he thought creating a system was so important for his new team, and I loved his reply:
“One of the major things is making things very clear and not confusing. Similar to any type of team, like basketball, you need specific roles and what expectations are of you as a team player. As a team in education, our roles are very defined and help us understand where we are as a team and how to move together as a unit. My systems help all of us know what to expect, when it’s coming and what happens after.”
I imagine Ge’ron’s life will get even easier as he shares facilitation with his team. And how wonderful will it be to have all of these materials ready to go next year?
Together Teacher Discussion Question: How do you effectively manage wearing multiple hats at school?