Today is the first day of our book study of The Together Teacher by Maia Heyck-Merlin. Every Wednesday from now until Oct. 8th we will be tackling one chapter at a time towards getting our lives more organized.
Let me paint you a picture of a not-so-together teacher: Rushing into school a Starbuck's in hand, along with bags of supplies (but not all of them - some are still sitting on the counter at home), son's not completed homework, and a headache coming on with the realization that I haven't made copies for the day yet. I set my child down at a table with instructions to complete said homework as I run down the hall to make those copies. The printer jams mid-way through and my cursing under my breath is only drowned out by the sounds of my name being called over the intercom. I forgot about that IEP! Its not even 8 AM already and I am beyond overwhelmed!
Yes, I admit that not-so-together teacher was me... Something had to give I needed to be just a little more together. If you are one of those amazingly born organized people, I envy you! But, if you are not, and that scenario rings a little to true for you, you will want to follow along with this book study! Author Maia Heyck-Merlin helps us to develop all the tools we need to plan ahead, get organized, an save time!
Maia Heyck-Merlin opens chapter one by letting us know that It CAN get easier. She says that organization is a learned skill - one that we ALL can master. No more excuses!
One thing that I love about this book is that she doesn't recommend costly tools to get organized. In fact, she gives you ideas to be organized no matter what tools you choose to use - paper or digital. She does have a few rules though:
1. Get everything in one place.
2. Take it with you.
3. Write everything down.
4. Make it bite-size.
5. Keep like items with like items.
6. Create a trigger for what you put away.
7. Mind your energy levels.
8. No tool is forever.
9. Own your schedule.
10. Pause to plan.
She details each of these rules, and they really make sense. Why didn't I know these things already? I also love that she gives reflection questions so you can really develop a plan that is going to work for you.
As I said before, the author is fairly neutral as to which tools you use, but she does care that your chosen tools are used to their fullest. No matter which tool you choose to use you want to make sure to have the following:
1. A Comprehensive Calendar that lays out all of your time/meetings/dates in one place. (This is for both work and personal life).
2. An Upcoming To-Do List
3. Thought Catchers
4. Meeting/ Professional Development (PD) Notes
Maia suggests that you imagine your ideal week. How you would ideally spend your time in any given week. She provides a few questions to get you thinking about what you might want to include in this week. She points out that although this plan is not meant to be followed to the letter each week (she was a teacher and knows about all those meetings that pop up), but it gives you a foundation to start from.
You can find a copy of an ideal comprehensive calendar on the Together Teacher website under Resources:Teacher:Comprehensive Calendar. You do have to register for the website, but it is free and there are a ton of resources available to you!
Here is my completed version of my ideal week:
To read more in this series follow these links: