SUPPORT THE WORK
1: LET GO
- This is EMERGENCY remote learning, it will not look like the school/district/culture you had in place before you moved to remote.
- You are rebuilding the plane while it is already in the air. Embrace that fact and continue to build.
2: FILL IN THE BLANKS
- We will be using ___ to communicate 1:1.
- We will be using ___ in our small groups and PLCs.
- We will be doing our weekly ‘water cooler’ check ins on ___.
- If you have burning questions, ask ___, using ___.
- My accountability partner is ___.
3: TIPS FOR VIRTUAL MEETINGS
- Establish routines and schedules – always send invites.
- Be consistent with tools and norms.
- You will have visitors who wander in. It’s okay, they live there too.
- If you have young children – keep toys, crayons, paper, or other distractors nearby so you can redirect them without totally interrupting the flow.
- Embrace the mute.
4: SMALL GROUPS/ 1:1s
- You don’t have a cafeteria or media center to meet all as one group.
- Large virtual meetings are very difficult, or are best delivered as an ‘information push’ without much interaction.
- Break your staff, existing departments, and grade levels into groups of 4 or 5. This allows some new people to shine as leaders, while also allowing maximum interaction in their groups.
5: MAKE LEARNING VISIBLE
- Remember your first few years of teaching when you were trying to learn the content the day before the students (or right before they walked in) each day?
- We need to share the things we are learning with our staff and make our learning visible so that they understand we are all in this together.
- We talk about making learning visible for your students, so walk your talk!
6: OVERCOMMUNICATE SUCCESS
- During this time, overcommunicate to your staff, students, and parents the successes that your school is seeing/experiencing each day.
- Social media
- If you don’t have a school Twitter account, this is the time to start one.
- If you don’t know how to use Twitter, this is the perfect time to learn (or embrace a staff member who does).
- Check in with district staff for policies surrounding posting.
7: MANAGE EXPECTATIONS
- Working remotely is a big shift.
- Leading remotely is a huge shift.
- Doing these during uncertain times is a monumental shift.
- Expectations are not the same as when we are all on campus.
8: FAMILY TIME
- Many people are working from home with spouses, children, and other loved ones in their ‘work’ space.
- Recognize and empathize; talk about things that are different in your house now that everyone is at home.
- Emphasize and support their split focus, but suggest methods to schedule or plan for ‘work’ and ‘home’ focus times.
9: (WORK) FAMILY TIME
- People lose the unplanned watercooler or planning room conversations with colleagues in remote work.
- Working remotely can be very lonely. People will seek out interaction.
- Click here for some ideas for ‘family time’ check-ins. Don’t worry, that link opens in a new tab- you won’t lose your spot!
10: ACKNOWLEDGE DISCOMFORT
- Try not to pretend that everything is normal and ignoring the obvious difficulty with your staff. They see it, they feel it, so do you. Say something!
- “Wow, this is tough, right?”
- “How have you been coping with the difficulties that come with this new challenge we are working through?”
- “What can I do to help?”
11: TALK ABOUT BURNOUT, IT’S REAL
- You are one person. You might be a father or mother, caregiver, spouse, partner, etc. If not, members of your team are all of those things.
- Hours worked does not equal success.
- There’s no commercially available and ethically accepted rapid cloning process, so if you burn yourself out, you’re not useful to your school family or your personal family.
- Make sure you know what mental health/wellness resources are available in your district/organization.
12: TREAT YOURSELF WELL
- Although it is difficult, find ways to continue your self-care.
- Physically: Exercise using video. Many gyms are posting daily workouts or even doing them live online. Involve the whole family! For meals, try to make sure you are eating well. You need quality fuel when you are aren’t able to move through your hallways and classrooms all day. Try a sit-stand solution if you can. If not, pick two work surfaces of different levels to alternate between around your house.
- Socially: Connect with friends, family, and colleagues using ‘virtual happy hour’. Decide on a time and a medium to connect on and stick to it.
- Mentally/psychologically: Plan time to unwind at night and protect it. If you are a reader, watcher, gamer, or knitter- this time is more vital than ever when under the additional stresses. Prioritize your sleep. You need it to recharge and give your best to your family, staff, and kids each day.
I originally posted this as a presentation back in March on Twitter for a district that asked for something to present to their school and district leaders. This was done as part of my role as an Education Strategist with CDW. Feel free to use/remix in any way you’d like.