donn H

My name is Donn Harrison and I have been a member of California Causality for years.  I have also taught school for over 25 years.  This past May I was awarded Top Teacher on the Live with Kelly and Michael Show.  I was asked by California Casualty to write a few articles to teachers and members of the California Casualty family.  While this article is directed to educators it certainly applies to all careers.

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As the beginning of the school year washes over us like a cold shower on an August morning, hopefully you have established a routine.  You know your students by name, and you’ve interacted with some kids so many times that you say them in your sleep.  Here are several “keeps” I use as I go through the year that help me to be a better educator, parent and spouse.  Hopefully some of these may help you not only survive the year but thrive!

Keep Ahead

There are so many expectations on teachers today.  You are a shoe tying, data collecting, problem solving, group leading, question asking educator.  All these expectations are heaped upon you and you have to keep ahead.  There are several ways to do this. When your principal announces that all teachers have to turn in something, get a jump on it.  Try to at least knock it out that day.  Getting a jump on it will give you time later.

Keeping ahead may even happen at home.  I get all of my clothes ready for the week and put them on hangers on Sunday night.  There is nothing better than grabbing an already ironed outfit on in the morning.  This is a great way to keep ahead and avoid a hectic morning!

Keep Grounded

No matter how crazy my day is I save time for a hobby.  I love to bike.  So every day I save at least 45 minutes to get out and get some fresh air.  It centers me and relaxes me.  You may crochet, read, jog, walk or jam out in the car on the way home, but take time and make this a priority in your daily routine.

 Keep your priorities

You can’t get everything done in a day.  You have to see a task coming at you and be able to say, “this can wait.”  You need to find out when someone expects it and get ahead if you can.  Some things you will miss and forget to do.  That happens.  Apologize and move on.  As a firefighter I am able to prioritize pretty well.  On a fire scene, I know that gas and electricity needs to be turned off when we arrive at a structure fire.  The same goes at school.  The scraped knee at recess needs a band aid before the zipper on the coat needs fixed.  See tasks coming at you and prioritize them.

Keep an open mind

Education changes year to year.  Changes can drown you and make you seem like an antique when you fight them.  Keep an open mind and embrace change and spin it with your own unique teaching style.  In my career, I have seen policies from not leaving children behind, to racing to them to the top to making their core common.  Each time I tried to embrace the change and spin it in a positive way and make it my own unique system.

I hope you have a great year and some of these tips help you make teaching fun for you and your kids!

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