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Use Your Resources Well

Use Your Resources Well
I am an efficiency master. I have the household chores down to a science and even have my preferred day of the week for some chores. Sunday morning means putting the sheets and towels in the washer before heading out of the house. Sunday evening means putting fresh sheets on the bed to start the week. If we travel or there’s some other interruption, it really throws me off my groove when my routine is changed.
When my daughter was in junior high school, she complained about not having her favorite jeans to wear the next day. It wasn’t washday, and I didn’t have enough laundry for a full load, so I told her to choose something else to wear. The pouting that followed caused a change in the family routine. My daughter then became responsible for her own laundry.
This also meant that I had to step back and let her do things differently than I would. She sometimes didn’t sort into like-colored piles as carefully as I did, and she tended to dry everything in the dryer (unlike me that hangs half of my clothes to air dry).


My friend Dodie has three children, which means endless piles of laundry to handle. One evening, she had time for only one load of laundry, so she asked her kids to pull out anything specific they wanted washed. Her daughter Riley decided to be helpful and put in a load of her own clothes ahead of time so she would be sure to have her favorite pair of socks for school the next day. Yes, Riley washed and dried a complete load of laundry that included only two socks. I imagine she used a full scoop of detergent and tossed in a dryer sheet for good measure. I’m guessing those were some very clean, very fresh-smelling socks!
I don’t do laundry at work, but I think both my daughter and Dodie’s daughter can teach us a few things about using our work resources well.
Pass On Some Responsibility
We are quickly approaching the season of test review, which can sometimes bring out the control freak in us all. It’s our job to help our teachers, and in turn, their students, be amazing. But if we’ve hired and mentored good people, they have a million ideas and strategies to implement. Step to the side and allow smart teachers to do what they do best.
Be Ready with Recommendations
Some teachers just know what to do and need very little guidance. But you may have some less experienced teachers or some teams that need a few options. Spend your time curating some proven strategies and trusted resources to recommend to those who need some help. Now is the perfect time to touch base with other science leaders to see what is happening in neighboring districts.
Show Some Flexibility
My daughter’s laundry wasn’t sorted the way I would do it, but in the end she had a pile of clean clothes. Give your teachers room to use their skills and creativity. Ask questions, be sure teachers have a solid plan of action, but then take on the role of a facilitator. When you see teachers and teams implementing awesome ideas, first brag about them to their principal and then share those ideas with other teachers. Good ideas spark even more good ideas.
Remember that test review season shouldn’t last the entire semester and shouldn’t be first-time instruction. Just like getting the best use out of our washers and dryers, we can to work with teachers and principals to get the most out of the few weeks just before STAAR® tests are administered. Focus on the big and important ideas (like an entire load of whites) rather than the tiny details (like the load of two socks) to remind students of what they have learned throughout the school year.
My daughter was proud to take care of her own laundry, and it freed me up to take care of other things around the house. By the way, you’ll be glad to know that Dodie’s daughter has since learned how to wash a full load of laundry. Just imagine all of the things Dodie can do with her extra time!
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