Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Hey, school leaders... 5 hacks to get you out of your office

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Finding time to visit classrooms is a challenge for many school leaders. It seems that there is always an email to answer, a person to meet with, or a situation to handle. It's important for school leaders to make time to get out of the office and into classrooms consistently.

It can be a challenge to make time, but it's not impossible. Some days will be better than others, and some days it may be a simple gesture of sticking your head in a teacher's classroom to ask, "Need anything?" 

I'm sharing 5 hacks for school leaders to use to get out of the office and into classrooms, hallways, lunchrooms, and other areas of the school. I would love for you to leave a comment below to share any other ideas you have. We are better together, and we can all learn from each other. 

1. Set your alarm on your phone

On the iphone, you can set a daily alarm for weekdays only and label it as a reminder to get out of the office. Try setting a morning alarm and an afternoon alarm, and start with the small, consistent goal of 2 times every. single. day.

2. Get out with your mobile desk

I love taking my standing desk out into the building. I can monitor hallways, keep up with email, visit with students and teachers, and easily move between classrooms. 

There's room for my Chromebook and two shelves for a notebook, pens, sticky notes, and my phone. They are usually around $70 on Amazon - not bad for this workhorse of a desk!

3. Set up a temporary desk in the building

If you're not ready to go office-less like my friend Carrie Jackson, consider setting up a temporary office in the cafeteria or in the library. Another idea is to set up a small table into the lobby or at the end of a hallway and use it as a place to work on email or other tasks that don't require privacy. 

4. Schedule classroom visits as appointments on your calendar

Just as you would schedule a doctor's visit as an appointment or make an appointment with a personal trainer, putting the classroom visits on your calendar helps you when planning other meeting times and a to-do list. By scheduling your visits, you shift your thinking from "finding time' to "making time." 

5. Commit to daily or weekly building walks with a colleague or student

Last year, we walked almost every Friday during 3rd period

Grab another administrator, an aspiring administrator, new teachers, or students and walk the building. "Walk and talks" are a great way to build relationships, and when you visit classrooms with other administrators, it's a learning opportunity for both of you as you debrief after the visit. 

Are there other hacks that you or your school administrator use(s) to get out of the office? Please share in the comments below!

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  1. These are great hacks! I have a place in the library I often go to work so I can be with kids!

  2. Put a colored dot or noticeable sticker on your clock. Subtle reminder that it is time to get up and go visit a classroom every time you look at it.