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Get the Job Done

First, let me start by saying I have an awesome mom. She could find anything I lost, find the best bargain at the store, and find time to take care of a million details that no one but a mom can appreciate. Now, let me tell you a few things that might make her cringe, but I hope will make her laugh.



My mom sometimes hemmed pants using masking tape. She frequently made a Bundt cake for birthdays or holidays because it was quick and didn’t need icing. She knew which restaurant had “buy one, get one” barbecue sandwiches so she didn’t have to cook as often. When she did cook, there was one meal you could eat or not eat because she didn’t believe in making something special for picky eaters. She had a closet full of holiday bags and a stash of presents so she could wrap a gift in the blink of an eye. She made it a game to see if we could get ready for bed and brush our teeth during TV commercial breaks. What do all these examples have in common?

My mom knew how to get things done. She did not suffer from analysis paralysis, making a list, and then wondering where to start. She also didn’t worry about perfection. She was and is a “get it done” type of person. If she tells you she will do something, you can count on it being done and on time. My mom wasn’t a science supervisor but I think there are a few things she might like to teach us.

Have a Plan

Whether it’s making a budget, scheduling time to visit science classrooms, or supporting schools during testing season, you need a plan to get everything done. My mom recorded her life on the wall calendar in the kitchen, but you likely have a paper or electronic calendar. Putting events on the schedule makes it far more likely that they will get done.

Not Everything Has to Be Perfect

I’m sometimes guilty of having a very specific vision of what I’d like to happen but I’ll be the first to tell you that my vision doesn’t always become reality. I’ve had staff development days that sometimes fell flat while other days went far better than I could have imagined. Be open to changing plans and adapting because education is sometimes a little unpredictable.

Spend time on what matters

Having color-coordinated handouts might make us feel good, but having a solid professional development session based on best practices is what is really important. Having a fun name for a tutorial session might be fun but focusing on student data and deficits is the real purpose of review.

When my mom did cook, she made an amazing pot roast. She read to us at night before bed. She made it to every school event including away games to cheer from the bleachers. My mom knew what really mattered.

We have an opportunity now to take care of what really matters. It’s our job to keep bringing the focus back to students and the best practices to set them up for success. Is every instructional minute being used well? Are lessons and review materials carefully aligned to the standards? Are students engaged in the learning or just filling out packets?

Consider taking a quick inventory of what needs to be addressed in these critical days before high stakes testing. Now is the time to work with principals, consult with teachers, and encourage students. We want to be able to look back at this school year and know that our time was spent well. If you look at the hem of my mom’s pants, you may still find masking tape, but you can bet your Bundt cake that she’s busy making things happen.

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