Know Your Intentions


Tonight, I just have a very quick update for you. I’ve been very busy the past week, so I haven’t had much time to think, let alone come up with a well thought out post.

My work schedule was crazy – I averaged 13 hour days at school, without breaks. There were a lot of reasons for that.  There are times as an assistant principal, when juggling the responsibilities is difficult. We have a full time teaching load with only 40 minutes additional time to attend to our executive role. I spent my breaks, and the hours before and after school, organising casual relief, re-doing timetables, in meetings with teachers, support staff and parents, and attending to student welfare issues that cropped up which simply couldn’t be ignored or delayed.

Some weeks the workload is manageable, but others, like last week, the workload gets on top of you.

As a result of all the demands on my time, I had absolutely no time to plan lessons, reflect, mark work or do any of the things that are really necessary for quality teaching. But, in spite of everything, my students still were engaged in meaningful learning.

This evening I wondered how I managed to make it all work.

I think the key was that I had worked out clear and explicit learning intentions for each lesson. I was able to articulate these to the students, and draw on the repertoire of strategies I’ve developed over the years to come up with some engaging activities on the spot.

Knowing the learning intention is critical. Without a clear idea of what it is you want your students to learn, it’s impossible to plan well. It’s also impossible to see whether or not you have been effective.

Weeks like the one I just had are rare, but we all have them. When they come along,  try making it a priority to set the learning intentions for the week. Once they are in place, the rest of it will come more easily.



2 thoughts on “Know Your Intentions

  1. I am mind-boggled…13 hour days…I do hope that “is” rare. This job, the AP, is the ‘hard yards’ one in particular, as you wear many hats. This coming week, and beyond, take some ‘time’ out…sometime….You are a very dedicated professional, but coming up for air is essential. Denyse

    • Hi Denyse,
      You’re right about AP’s wearing a lot of hats. Sometimes it is really hard to balance the different roles – I always feel I’m neglecting something.

      But weeks like last week are rare, thankfully. It was one of those weeks where everything just happened at once: P&C met on Tuesday evening, making it a long day and we had our Kindergarten information evening the next night. So that was two days I didn’t leave work until after 9:30pm. In addition, we had a number of teachers call in sick each day – my role is to organise the casuals and sort out any timetable variations, so I had to get in early to do all that. 2 of the other APs were out for a few days – which meant I ended up taking on some of their responsibliities, and 2 students in my class were accused of bullying – which meant a lot of time spent investigating, meeting with parents, recording it all etc.

      This week, so far, is looking much more reasonable.

      Thanks for your comment and your advice. It’s true, sometimes I feel so bogged down that its hard to remember to come up for air.

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