As I continue to work in the field of education, I have noticed a significant decline in standard guidance outlining what is required of teachers at many schools. Teachers are often left to their own devices to source materials online or create their own, thus eliminating consistency in how content is presented from grade to grade; methods of teaching vary from class to class depending on the teacher’s style as do the amounts of homework given, if any at all. From an administrative perspective, I can appreciate the desire to let your staff flourish based on individual strengths and personal creativity; however, before you can get to a place where this can happen, it’s important to realize that without a set foundation or organized plan of attack, instead of an empowered and creative staff you will end up with one that is exhausted and on the verge of burnout. Why? Because creativity without some form of organization in place first leads to chaos, and chaos leads to stress.
The solution? As much as you as an administrator may not want to hamper your staff’s individual voices and say in how the school functions, it is important to organize those voices from the very beginning. Too many opinions lead to a vision that isn’t aligned correctly, and mismatched ideas and viewpoints will result in confusion and individual teachers proceeding as they see fit. Therefore, it’s up to you to outline the vision and all it encompasses – mission, philosophy, teaching methods, etc. and to create the educational framework that allows that vision to transpire. For more information on frameworks, see the following articles.
What is an Educational Framework?
A Vision vs. an Educational Framework
Designing an Educational Framework
It's All in the Implementation
Once the foundational work is done and after the framework has been shared with staff, the next step is implementation – which is crucial to success. Just because staff is aware of what is expected, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will do it. It will be up to you to check teacher planners, observe staff as they teach and to mentor them. There will be those who complain, and it will take time to get everyone on board but after 6 months to a year, you will see the shift as teachers understand the expectations and come together as a unified staff. It is then and only then that you can begin to loosen up and allow individual thoughts and creativity to flow because all the energy and ideas brought forth will serve to further the school’s vision. Teachers will be delivering content in a similar manner, materials that are sourced or created will support these teaching methods, and a clear homework policy will be in place across the board, etc., thus creating a cohesive approach to teaching and learning. And within the safety of this structured environment teachers will be able to thrive, both as individuals and as a team.
Control and organization do not equate to the stifling of creativity; it in fact, establishing a strong foundation with set guidelines does the exact opposite. When staff are comfortable knowing where they are headed, they spend less time worrying whether what they are doing is correct and more time creating freely within the boundaries that have been outlined. Interested in empowering your staff and would like assistance in developing your school’s educational framework? Contact us, we are happy to help!
By Patricia Hill
Being a busy parent can be quite overwhelming, especially when it comes to staying organized. There is no right or wrong way to do it, but these simple steps can make your life run much more smoothly. Education by Shala Books has compiled some cost-efficient strategies that will help you stay organized as a busy parent.
Organization Is Key
Clutter can quickly take over any space if you don’t stay on top of it, so it is important to take steps after decluttering in order to stay organized. This includes putting everything back in its place and developing systems for quick clean-up and organization. Investing in organizing tools such as bins, baskets, and containers will also keep items in their designated spot and save you time and energy looking for things later on.
Organize Digitally, Too
When your family grows, so does the amount of paperwork you have to keep. Keeping track of medical and school documents can be overwhelming, but with the right organizational system, these documents can be stored securely in a cloud storage or file cabinet. Utilizing helpful PDF tools makes this process easier. Click here for more info.
Time management is key to a successful day as a parent. Setting achievable goals, creating a schedule for yourself and your children and taking short breaks throughout the day are essential strategies to help you better organize your time. This ensures that tasks get completed on time and that nothing is overlooked, allowing you to maximize productivity every day.
Taking trips out for errands can be both time-consuming and costly. Planning ahead and consolidating trips whenever possible reduces expenses and saves you time. Knowing in advance what needs to be done at each stop reduces wasted time as well.
Keeping a clean and clutter-free home is essential for everyone’s sanity. Developing a cleaning routine will ensure that necessary tasks aren’t forgotten, even in the busiest times. Setting aside specific days or times of the week solely to clean will provide peace of mind with minimal effort required from you.
Meal planning is a great way to save both money and time. It provides you with control over the ingredients you use, leading to less food waste. Plus, pre-made meals or crockpot recipes make weeknight dinners easy and fast. Not only that, it can reduce the temptation towards unhealthy snacking, promoting healthier eating habits.
Work From Home
Advances in technology have created an opportunity for more parents to work from home. This reduces commuting costs and allows flexibility in their schedules, things that every busy parent needs. Working from home also allows for more family bonding that may otherwise be impossible due to long hours away from home.
Taking care of yourself needs to be your top priority, especially as a busy parent. Techniques like yoga, meditation, and massage therapy will help you stay balanced in stressful times. As a tip, adding plants to your home environment can purify the air while creating a more peaceful atmosphere.
Parenting can be a difficult job, but it doesn't have to be overly complicated to stay organized. There are a number of cost-effective tips that can help you maintain order and efficiency, such as decluttering regularly, organizing and storing important documents online, creating a comfortable workspace at home, and taking steps to reduce stress. By using these best practices, you should find that your life has become much easier and less overwhelming.
Years ago I wrote an article outlining how to connect a library program to the International Primary Curriculum (IPC). At the time of writing, I had recently assisted a school in setting up their program and developing a set of learning goals that aligned with the IPC’s mileposts. For more information and tips for setting up a program at your school see the following article:
How to Link Your Library Curriculum to the International Primary Curriculum (IPC)
While the article touched on steps to be taken, it did not elaborate on the planning tools necessary to implement a library program that connects to the IPC, as at the time the ideal software for doing so was not available. Enter our upcoming software, ESBPlanners and now it can quite easily be done! Below is a unit planning template designed using the software that can be modified to suit your needs.
The above planning template starts with space for a teacher to note the IPC thematic unit being covered as dictated by the school’s routing, the duration of the unit, the class one is planning for, and subject descriptors/learning goals. As you will note, the next row has space to write down descriptors and/or learning goals from several different subject areas. This information can be obtained by the librarian during a team meeting, or if no team planning time is available, mainstream teachers can simply fill the cells in using the “Shared Planner” or “Shared Cell” features.
Once the librarian has obtained the necessary information, they can choose a subject area they would like to link their program to, create a library subject descriptor and describe how it links to the chosen subject area. From there, they can list subject, personal, international and library goals that will be covered, come up with lesson/assessment ideas for the unit and list any materials that may be necessary. The planner would then extend downwards for the remainder of the unit.
Interested in using this IPC unit planner? Simply search for “IPC Unit Planner” or “Library” in ESBPlanners' template bank and either fill it in online or save as a PDF and print! ESBPlanners is coming soon, stay tuned for its release in 2023!
To learn more about ESBPlanners’ features, see the following articles:
Why Choose ESBPlanners for Your School?
Teacher Organizational Tools
Creating Rubrics Using ESBPlanners
Team Planning Tools for Your School
Planning Tools for Co-Teaching