Teachers wear a lot of different hats. And you don’t get to compartmentalize and wear each hat at a time. Nope, you are simultaneously instructing a small group, while training a staff member, while thinking about an upcoming parent conference. You have a lot to do and not a lot of time. Many of our students have behavior plans. A Behavior Plan is an action plan to address behaviors that are impeding the learning of a student. When you boil it down, behavior plans are guidelines for increasing positive behaviors and decreasing negative behaviors. Where can I get one of those? I think most teachers could use a set of action items that would address completing your job in a more effective and efficient way.
Define the problem behaviors.
It’s time to be reflective. Think about the areas of your job that you are not good at, yet (Learn more about having a growth mindset, in episode 2 of my podcast). Be honest. This is only for you. This isn’t turned in for a grade or a bonus (jokes…). This is to improve your skill set. There is always something we can improve on. If you don’t think there is anything you can work on, look harder. Maybe your problem behaviors are avoiding difficult staff conversations, falling off on data collection, or inconsistency on behavior plan implementation. Look at what areas can be better.
We are all about those good ole’ antecedent interventions. These are strategies we can setup to help avoid those problem behaviors from occurring. So here, think about what will help you avoid or get better at the area you are struggling in. Would reminders or prompts make sure you are consistent with data collection? Would researching new interventions help make your behavior plans are more effective? Are you stuck in a rut? Would scheduling time with colleagues to brainstorm help you add new activities and resources to your room? Write down a plan. Yes, write it down. Add it in your calendar. Set up cues and checklists to make sure it happens.
Life happens. You may have set up some amazing plans to help ensure that you are improving on your skills but something got in the way. Set up a plan for when you don’t follow through. Maybe have an accountability manager or throw in some checks and balances. Can you and a neighboring teacher do a data share every Friday at lunch? What happens if you go a month without sending weekly parent notes like you had committed to? Make a plan for not following through. When we make new goals, we are so dead set that we will absolutely complete the goal that we don’t make a plan for what to do if it doesn’t happen. So when there is inevitably a bump the road, it really doesn’t matter. There is no big change is accomplish the goal or not. That’s why gyms are full with new years resolution-ers in January but by February the place is cleared out. There is no clear or immediate consequence for not going.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. This job is hard. And taking 5 minutes (yes, this would only take 5 minutes) to make a plan to get better at the thing that you have dedicate your life to do seems absolutely logical and doable. Invest in yourself. Take steps to get better at what you do. It only take a few minutes to make a plan. It doesn’t have to be perfect. If it doesn’t work, you’ll change it and try again. That’s what we ask our students to do every day – try, learn, grow. You need to do the same thing.