At my school, to support teacher professional development on campus, we are given time to meet cross-divisionally in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). For the past year, I have been working with a group of colleagues in the Productivity Hacks PLC. One of our primary goals in this PLC is to think about not only what we are doing to boost personal productivity but, very importantly, the message we are sending students and how we are helping them manage work and stay organized. Our goal for this year is to come up with suggested organization-wide strategies to:
- streamline communication;
- improve our ability to focus and innovate as teachers;
- and to enhance personal well-being and balance.
One of our driving questions is: how can we streamline communication and create school community norms to not only increase productivity but also a sense of satisfaction and joy in the workplace? We have identified that email communication should be our starting point since: 1. that seems to be a major pain point for most of us; and 2. research clearly shows how unproductive it is to be on 24/7, how distracting our notifications are, and the cost of always responding to messages immediately.
As a school, not only will these practices positively influence our teaching, but they will also allow us to model and teach these habits to students. In a world filled with distractions, teaching students how to handle the constant incoming flow of information is becoming an increasingly necessary part of our job. Teaching students productivity strategies is also a vital part of helping us live our school motto of balance.
Now that we have gathered research identifying proven strategies and techniques, our next step is to figure out how we can implement these methods as a school. This is something we are actively talking about and working to figure out.
In the newsletter below, you will find some of the work we have done so far and some tips for first steps.