Today Matters, Vantage Superintendent Blog



Monday, August 24, 2015

Teacher Burn Out

It's the first day of school at Vantage Career Center, so why would I be writing about teacher burnout?

Check out the blog post, The Answer Sheet, by Valerie Strauss in the Washington Post, for some inspiring thoughts from Angie Miller, 2011 New Hampshire Teacher of the Year, a TED speaker, and a National Geographic Teacher Fellow. Strauss' blog, The Answer Sheet, features education topics--"what's important and sometimes what's not", as she describes herself in her Twitter biography.

This article resonated with me, ESPECIALLY since it's the first day of school! Being a former teacher, and a working mother, I immediately identified with Angie Miller's article, featured in Valerie's blog. Read it, you'll enjoy it if you're a teacher.

It reminds us why we do what we do every day in education. Whether you are a teacher or an administrator, you will be inspired, and perhaps have renewed purpose, as you tackle the work ahead of you this school year. Everyone who works in any occupation, can identify with Angie's thoughts.

Valerie Strauss also mentions David Whyte and his book "Consolations". I copied a quote of his for my bulletin board:  Work, among all its abstracts, is actually intimacy, the place where the self meets the world. . .it is the inside made into the outside. . .we stay alive and our work stays alive." The meaning in his words (for me) is: "Take care of yourself and you do your best work--for you and for others."  Today Matters. Use it wisely.

As an avid "list maker", I found Angie's words refreshing:  "I need to remember this list is here because it is who I am"!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Our Technology Staff is Fabulous!

Once again, our technology crew has helped me. The fact that I need help with technology is not something I like to advertise. But accessing my blog has been difficult, mostly due to creating the template years ago before blogging caught on, and having to access another Google email account to blog. It's been clumsy at best. Our techies stopped by with a quick and logical solution--I wonder why I didn't think of it myself.

Long story short, my weekly blog WILL appear weekly, and perhaps even a few times per week. More often than not, difficulty accessing my blog, and having little time (and patience) to deal with the problem, caused me to abort the mission. Too many other fish to fry in any given day as superintendent.

Vantage Career Center added a third technology-related position last year, and we have been very pleased. Former English teacher Mary Ann Falk transferred to the new role of Technology Integration Specialist/Curriculum Coordinator. She has fantastic skills, stemming from her use of technology as a classroom teacher, and her appreciation of and interest in its value for all audiences we serve, We now employ her to help all of our staff, administration and support staff included, to work more efficiently by using technology. She has also begun to network with other school districts to share both what Vantage is doing with technology, and what may be possible for them in their own districts.

Technology Support Specialist Luke Compton has been a wonderful addition to our staff two years ago. He assists our Technology Coordinator Stacie Leiter in keeping our staff and students' use of technology possible. Our staff of two maintains almost 700 computers, chrome books, hand held devices, stationery computer labs, and more. I don't know what we would do without them! If there isn't a national day recognizing "Technology Enthusiasts", we need one. Move over, national Cookie Day!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Scheduling = Sanity?

What a title! It's Monday morning and after difficulties accessing (and finding) my blog, I'm back at it! The thought that popped into my head as I thought about what to write was two-fold: how many short relaxing things I did over the summer with family and friends and meeting some personal goals (first 8K), and how, if I hadn't planned and scheduled many of those things, I wouldn't have done them! As school starts next week, it seems summer is gone too fast once again.

Taking care of self so you can take care of others, helps me meet my obligations in  my hectic superintendent life. "Make time for yourself". It's one of the items I remember clearly from our Ohio Buckeye Association of School Administrators' seminar for new superintendents in 2007. I won't say I'm good at it, but as I start my ninth year at Vantage Career Center, my first superintendency, I have learned the value of "down time".

Tired after a long day, followed by an evening event or meeting? I got into the habit of microwave popcorn for dinner. Or a bowl of cereal. Worse yet, a handful of chocolates and a glass of milk--all while reading and answering work emails, thinking I was getting ahead on the next day. Long term bad habits caused really low iron counts and zapped energy. Not to mention being too tired to exercise or relax to rejuvenate the body and soul.

Scheduling time for myself to do little things--cook, exercise, prepare more nutritious packed lunches, or simply to read the newspaper-- allowed me to better keep up with the pace at work. Scheduling came into play again, during the work day. Not packing appointments back to back, often followed or preceded by meetings, whether on-campus or off, helped immensely. I had time to think ad plan. By controlling how I spent my time, I got more done!

My father reinforced two things as I was growing up--perseverance and time management. He was right--I'll admit my perseverance level probably caused poor time management issues, as I didn't know when to quit. I've loved working in education, and I still throw myself into each day, totally immersed. After taking time to analyze where my time was going, I could fit in things that I enjoyed. It made a difference in how I approached not just Monday  mornings, but every day.

Do something for yourself today. Scheduling does = Sanity. Today Matters.