While it's important for educators to be flexible, it's also important that schedules and routines stay as consistent as possible since careful planning and preparation for targeted instruction fosters optimal student learning.
In what ways can teachers, schools and school systems foster a high level of consistency and support? I propose the following short list of actions:
Create a system-wide pattern for decisions and implementation. With this kind of pattern, teachers, students and community members can anticipate events and changes. This type of pattern establishment puts leaders about nine months ahead of what is happening in the classrooms providing educators with timely path to follow. A pattern might look like this:
- January: Revision and creation of system-wide goals, efforts.
- February: Plans for the following year's events, routines and activities.
- March: Planning for program revision, change and creation with hiring, ordering and more.
- April: Planning events to culminate the year.
- May: Year-end culmination events, assessments. Creation of the following year's calendar frame.
- June: Attention to detail with transitions for next year.
- September: Revisit year's goals, schedules, action focus.
- October: Research and Discussion regarding the next set of system-goals, efforts.
- November/December: Review and evaluation of existing goals, routines and actions.
- Main events are posted.
- A process for choosing dates is established.
- Teachers and others plan additional events securing dates on a first-come, first-serve basis using the established system-wide process.
- School administrators create the school-wide schedule of activities, learning periods and duties.
- Educators establish classroom routines and schedules based on the school-wide calendar.
- Special events and field trips are scheduled during the summer or first week of school.
- Families and colleagues are introduced to the classroom routine and schedule at the start of the year so they can plan ahead.
- The classroom routine and schedule make time for important learning events and special activities
Working with people will always present a puzzle-like quality, and that's a wonderful challenge of the job. Yet, a solid routine and consistency at the foundation of work with children will allow us to make time for the puzzles that matter: the work we do each day to teach children well.