I began a wonderful new position in my school district this year as an Instructional Coach for five elementary schools. I hit the ground running mid-August and haven't stopped moving since! I've had to learn a few lesson very quickly and tackling them head-on has already made a difference in my ability to remain productive and keep my head above water day in and day out. Today I am sharing the very first lesson I learned-get organized!
Organize Your Space
I don't have a home base or office this year. As I mentioned earlier I work in five different buildings and travel to a different one each day. In each school the Principal found a spot for me so I have a place to sit and set up my laptop, So far that has worked out well, but I decided right away that I really didn't want to try to set up offices in five different locations! Also, though I begin each day in a particular building, I often travel between buildings in the afternoon. This allows to meet with teachers at a time that works well for them but doesn't keep me in one space for very long. The next best solution I decided, since I am on the move every day, was to carry everything I need with me from school to school. This also meant I got to go shopping for a new bag! Now I should share that I have had a bag fetish for as long as I can remember so this option made me very happy! Some girls love shoes, some love clothes. I love those things too but not nearly as much as I love bags! And so the search began.
Finding the Perfect Bag
I began listing specifics of the perfect bag in my head. My bag needed to be big and roomy but not so big that I felt like I was carrying a suitcase. It had to have a lot pockets, some of which ideally would zipper shut. I wanted a bag that was stylish and professional but wanted it to be made of cloth not leather. I like bags that are soft and can be thrown in the back of my car or into the wash if I need. Finally, it needed to have extra long straps and outside pockets for my water bottle and such. I also started thinking about what I would carry in my bag. What did I need to have with me at each location each day? Here is the list I created:
How I Use My Bag While Coaching
I usually travel to my location each day and unpack my laptop, charger, mouse, iPad, planner, sticky notes, pen and cell phone in the spot the school as provided for me. As I move about the building to meet with teachers I carry my cell phone, notebook, a pen and laptop with me. My cell phone is essential. I place every single appointment in my Outlook calendar and can access it from my phone. My phone also helps me to stay on top of emails and phone calls I receive during the day. I take notes in my notebook and transfer these into Google documents later. I realize I could take the notes digitally but there is something about typing away while a teacher is talking that I just don't like. Writing by hand feels less formal to me, like I am just jotting things down to remember while we talk.
I can honestly say that my Coaching bag is working out well for me! It holds everything I need but doesn't feel overwhelming or obtrusive. Are you an Instructional Coach on the go like me? Do you have any suggestions for staying organized you would like to share?