I love my job. It is challenging but rewarding. It is different every day. It is something that continues to evolve. I really love my job. There are things that I use and do to make some aspects of my job more manageable.
For starters, I have recently started using MailChimp to email out weekly newsletters. I find that they provide me with an easy to use interface and the ability to send emails that stand out for the staff that I serve. I do not worry about hitting the email sent limits that are available on the free MailChimp accounts. To manage the content, I use Trello. I have it set up as an editorial content calendar, with projects that I am working on and projects that I have finished. My inspiration came from a Trello blog post. This provided me with the idea.
I also am working on getting a school specific blog set up to help with my staff. I will be using Blogger for that site as we are a Google Apps for Education school. I want to model the behavior, at least professionally, of the products and tools that we are using. Speaking of Google Apps for Education, I love using Google Apps for everything that I do, both professionally and personally. I love the functionality and never having to remember to save. Using Google Forms to gather information and have signed up for events helps tremendously. Partnered with add-ons like formMule and autoCrat allow me to pull some of the most crucial information from a form. Using those services and Gmail filters allow me to quickly place all emails with staff goals, registrations, or other crucial information in a central location that limits the amount of mail buzzing my inbox. Google Calendar is a life saver. I use the calendar for everything in my personal and professional life. The fact that you can grant others access to your calendar helps my wife and I balance our busy schedules. I know other services do that as well, but I really love the Google Calendar interface.
Finally, for task management I use the free version of Asana. Asana allows you to set up teams of up to 15 users for free. With this, you have the ability to assign tasks, set due dates, and integrate with Google Apps for Education. Asana allows me to delegate tasks and reminds me of pending project due dates. It allows me to balance my college classes, personal projects, and professional calendar.
As for tips and tricks, as a coach that is new to the district and having a position that is new, I am focused on evaluating current levels of technology integration and building relationships. Some of what I see is concerning, but I see potential in a lot of what my colleagues are doing. I try to be as visible as possible and look for as many opportunities to collaborate with the teachers. For instance, in the passing period, I will try to strike up conversations on how things are going as I move from appointment to appointment throughout the day.
Overall, I find that my position is one that affords me an incredible opportunity to grow and to help my district grow. The ultimate goal is to increase learning opportunities for students. Every decision, conversation, and shared idea must keep students in the focus. They are the reason that I am doing what I am doing, and that is one of the most important things to remember as a coach.