Educators – Get Control Over Your Email

Goodness, gracious! Email can both help us stay in control–and give us the sense that we are out of control. To help get some control over your email, put one or all of the following ideas into place.

Open your email only a specified number of times each day(vs. having it on constantly). Even if you open it once an hour, that’s an improvement over having it on 100% of the time.

Only open your email if you have time to process/deal with what is there. What so often happens with educators is that you have a spare moment between classes and then you dash in to see what’s in your inbox. You don’t really have time to deal with any of the emails that are in there, but just seeing them gives you a sense of dread and heaviness–because you know you have all those to handle when you finally do sit down to try to power through them. It’s generally not a feeling of lightness.

Set up and use all the “rules” you possibly can to sift and sort your email. If you aren’t sure where to start, have a person review any “hot” topics for you. If you’re using Yahoo, try using their dedicated “news” folder (rather than the everyone page). You’ll be amazed at the pages you find there!

Use a clear, pertinent, succinct subject line(and this may be the whole message). For example: “IEP for elementary schools: On hold until November 4th until further notice.” If you can, put up a bell to ring, so that kids know it’s time to get more serious. Or have a caller ID that kids can verify. We use this for everything from “Please, please, please call back” to ” Lunch flurry! “

EPILOGUE: DAY 2

 Checking your inbox….

Check the birthday of everyone in your Inbox (you and your assistants, etc.). Birthday after day, ask yourself “What is this date, in effect, for?” If it’s a birthday, you know you have some great news: you can broaden your network, and suddenly you’re surrounded by wonderful people. If it’s not a birthday, you have a message. Hilton Head Island global warming day? Obviously, that’s a good one to save for next year.

Use search terms to find specific people and organizations. Google “education organizations” and try nickels and dimes for “union” or “energy” or “labor organization” to find these kinds of organizations. When you find a site you like, but it’s not listed as an organizational resource, you can alwaysIFT to “Please list me as a friend” or “Follow”.

There are lots of ways to have students ask questions and participate in group activities. For me, the most significant way is to have students:

Books: I have several favorite books about teaching strategies, lesson plans, expectations, student rooms, and curricula. I also have several books on classroom management, special needs, textbooks, A-Frame, and technology. I generally keep all these books in a small, chronological collection that includes:

This gives you a hitting long-term news and information-based collection to rely on.

This is a serious problem for educators. We are a Brief Lives Project. Be brief. Be true. Be specific. Be specific to a real-world need or problem that actually exists.

We are not in control at school. Schools are far from control. They are far along in their curricular resources and far behind in most but not all policy and process related to addressing the needs of children.

I fear that in many mainstreamed teaching environments, the pendulum is now swinging so far to the right (educare) that teachers are afraid to tread in any depth. As a result, our students are receiving a disproportionate share of their class time in the boredom of long-gone traditions.

Students will become Amnesty International citizens: Well, they can’t all just cut all ties to the outside world, after all. I imagine Amnesty International will argue that learning English by drinking coffee is part of the tradition as well.

The idea is a good one, and it will be particularly useful if schools itself follow suit. Schools have a head start on this, if they implement a simple idea.

OSHA Has Resources

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has list of resources. Again, this is a good resource list. Again, I’ll repeat some of the points here.

 metal Shelves: Allegedly, Shelves are arranged to face the floor. You can never be sure exactly what is on top, or what is in the middle. Pile-resistance metal Shelving Systems may be a relatively new concept, but have been around for a while.

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