Monday, September 28, 2020

Office Hours Reinvented

 Principal ponderings...

In the spring, we suddenly had the added schedule item of "office hours."  We tried to make ourselves available for our students and parents.  And now, this year, as we begin the year remote, our "office hours" can at times feel like they are taking over our lives.  I know I have spoken to some of you and you are making calls to parents late at night or you are answering tech questions and brainstorming over the phone throughout the day or you are up early responding to the never ending emails.  During this new way of teaching, our jobs can easily become 24/7.

But that is not sustainable.  That is certainly not an expectation, being available at every hour of the day.  And it has the potential to very quickly burn us all out.  

So I propose a new requirement.  I am calling this new expectation "family hours."  I expect that we all set aside some time each day designated to "family hours."  During this part of our schedule, we cannot answer emails, we cannot call parents, we cannot plan lessons.  This is a time to do something for yourself unrelated to work.  This is a time to spend with your family.  This is a time for you to fill your emotional cup back up.  

I need to be the example.  I need to model "family hours" for all of you.  I recognize that I will have a mental breakdown if I continue to physically leave work, but mentally keep bringing it home with me.  I plan on scheduling this time on my calendar so that I have a visual reminder to focus on self care every single day.  I am thinking I may even add it to my email signature so everyone knows.  I propose that you all do the same thing.  Give yourself the time.  I need you and our students need you this whole year, through the good, the bad and the ugly.  Set some limits.  Do not work 24/7.  Schedule in "family hours."  

You are the best staff around.  I expect the best and want the best.  You don't want or deserve what's left of me.  So I don't want what's left of you.  Time to reinvent our office hours.  Family hours.  Pencil it in.  Schedule it into Google calendar.  Turn off your notifications.  Take care of you.

Currently reading:

I am almost done with the book Roll With It.  There are a lot of topics that it deals with like physical disabilities, poverty, divorce, and the main topic, Alzheimer's.  I didn't realize how close to home this book would hit.  

I am also listening to an interesting book that a friend recommended to me: The BookWoman of Troublesome Creek.  It was inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse Library Service of the 1930s.

Events this week:

Tuesday - Liz G will be a panelist for an MASCD Webinar on Educator Self Care - you can register if you are interested at, School Committee Meeting @ 6:30

Wednesday - Half day of school, Staff meeting @ 12:30, TpT training @ 2:00

Thursday - We made it to October!

Staff Check In:

Feel free to fill out this optional Monday morning staff check-in form.

Check it out:

This was an interesting article that I read in August and meant to share with all of you:

Monday, September 21, 2020

You Don't Need Inspiration

 Principal Ponderings...

I was trying to find something inspirational to kick off my blog posts for the year.  What a year it's going to be.  But after I watched this video clip from another principal in a totally different state, I thought...she is so right.  You all have no idea how inspiring you are.  You might not feel it today or tomorrow or at all.  But I am telling you...You don't need inspiration.  You ARE the inspiration.  

I am blown away with your dedication, your perseverance, and your love for our students.  Is remote teaching fun?  No.  Is it easy?  No.  Is it challenging?  Yes.  Are you exhausted at the end of the day?  Yes.  But are you all giving it your all and rocking it?  Yes!

I will certainly keep trying to inspire you and remind you to take care of yourselves and be a support for all of you.  But for now, stop reading this, sit for a minute, breathe, and really believe that you are inspiring.  Need more convincing?  Watch this video clip...

Currently reading:

I just finished listening to Dear Martin by Nic Stone.  I love this book!  It is certainly not for our young readers, but for those of us who want to keep educating ourselves about racism and racial inequities, this is a good fiction book that mirrors reality.  Looking forward to reading the sequel, Dear Justyce.

I have started the book Roll With It, about a girl in a wheelchair who tells it like it is.  I am enjoying this book, but this week...go figure...I just did not have much energy to keep reading.  Will try to get into it more this week. 

I am also reading Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain.  Kris Dorogi and I are going to be running a book club with this book for the Wachusett Area Social Justice Alliance.  I will be sending out a sign up for educators in the district if you are interested. 

Events this week:

Monday - First full week of remote learning - You Got This!  Take it one day at a time.

Wednesday - Half day, quick 15 minute staff meeting check in at 1:00, Working with Teachers Pay Teachers and it should be available starting today.  I have an optional training set up for the following Wednesday for any teachers that want to learn more. 

Friday - Birthday Book Distribution Day - Liz will be giving out birthday books to the September birthdays!

Staff Check In:

Feel free to fill out this optional Monday morning staff check-in form.

Check it out:

You may have already discovered this teacher's site; she goes by FirstGradeCreative.  What I loved was she has about 15 already created Bitmoji classrooms focused on brain breaks.  Check her site out!

Quick 2 minute listen, mindful message: Busy People...

And this seems about right...