Monday, June 25, 2018

Essentials and Extras

As I await our end-of-the-year meeting, I am thinking about my career over the past 32 years. I am thinking about the highs and lows and all the in between events and actions. As I've noted continuously teaching well is a limitless proposition. We can always get better and there is always more we can do. No one is the best or the worst, but many display amazing talent, commitment, and drive when it comes to a job well done.

As I think more about this, I realize there are essentials and extras when it comes to teaching well--the essentials are the have-to's and the extras are often the want-to's. The right balance of both leads to teaching well.

What are the essentials?

Though not complete, I would say the essentials list includes the following:

  • Know the expectations of your job--what is it that you are expected to do?
  • Understand the structure that you work with--whose in charge or what and who can you rely on to help out, collaborate, and support your efforts?
  • Know the rules--what time are you expected to work, where are you expected to work, and what specific rules guide your practice?
  • Create a professional environment that includes what you need to do the job well--make time to create a positive, supportive work environment.
  • Read and research related to your job--know what your expectations entail and stay abreast of the research and information related to that.
  • Establish a positive weekly routine that helps you to care for yourself and loved ones as well as to do the job well.
  • Keep track of your accomplishments and challenges--a log, journal, website, blog, or notebook can guide your efforts.
  • Know the golden rules of professional conduct and follow those rules as you do your work. 
  • Establish positive, professional relationships with those you work with. Yes, you may make friends at work, but in most cases you will enjoy professional relationships with those you work with and it's often healthy to keep a bit of a divide between your professional and private lives.
As for extras, those are the acts you don't have to do, but what you want to do to establish professional success. Extras might include the following:
  • Make time to recognize the special celebrations, trials, support, and accomplishments of colleagues.
  • Help others when you can.
  • Look outside of the organization for extra supports and learning opportunities to boost your knowledge and contribution.
  • Write grant proposals and bring in extra support for the organization.
  • Give extra in what you do.
  • Volunteer for extra committee or professional work when possible.