Work Smart Not Hard!

Work Smart Not Hard!       January Auto Teacher Newsletter

We spoke of time and the lack there of in our frantic pace the education system demands of us last month. How do you manage time? Family first and that means how many hours? Sleep? Normal things we do to fulfill Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. That leaves little time for our students. At this point we have more roads to take in our journey. Do we give the school/students more of our time than we are not paid for? Or do we clock in and out like a factory worker? I assume you are more of the former than the latter as most all teachers I visit and meet with are dedicated to the excellence of their teaching. Some consider their teaching a calling from God and it shows in their programs success in spite of all the difficult times we all face.  All that being said let’s move on to finding ways to do more without working harder but working smarter. Here are some questions for you.

Do you have file drawers full of papers you don’t need?  Can’t find what you need when you need it a week/month/year later? Consider placing your documents in an online folder by scanner or using a camera to take pictures of each document. Several free sites will give you space in the cloud to store your pictures, files and other documents. Example: Windows Skydrive, Google’s Gmail resources.

Taking notes in meetings and then don’t remember what was important? Or in my case can’t read my notes or remember what was said. Consider recording the meeting on an audio file, or video and audio example: Flip HD Camera or Sony audio recorder. I videoed my entire Business and Education Advisory Committee meeting last time we met because the person who was to take notes was absent.

See: Advisory Meeting

“Reinventing the Wheel.” This is the big one in MHO. I made my first NACAT meeting in 1999. We met in Charleston at Dan Perrin’s school Trident Technical College. I still maintain the relationships I gained at that first meeting. Many times I have needed a document, test, multimedia or rubric that has been quickly supplied by my sustaining resources in the NACAT organization. Many good teachers become so bogged down by details and requirements of the day they wind up doing many tasks to prepare their classrooms the hard way instead of the smart way. They remind me of the wood sawer that never had time to sharpen the saw.  Many good teachers do not go to conferences, network or develop relationships with veteran teachers even though this could be the most valuable time spent.

Several times I have been called by CTAE Directors to work with the Auto Teacher and find that they are struggling with several issues; classroom control, academic requirements, maintenance of the lab, equipment, live work, and a host of daily details. Some have been genuinely surprised when they are introduced to other auto teachers in my workshops, on IATN (www.iatn.net) and at conferences. The surprise comes when the discovery is made that we all endure the same problems and can achieve the same successes by networking.

I will assume some of this goes back to our competitive nature we learned on the shop floor as flat raters or shop owners competing for customers. One of the worst fights I ever saw in the U. S. was at a GM dealership I worked at years ago (all the cars had fins!) Two mechanics (that is Technicians nowadays) were on flat rate and both had the same qualities of experience and skills. They were good friends and joked with each other, went hunting together and of course played jokes on everybody. The fuss started like any other day at the shop with a joke here and a joke there. Neither of the men locked their toolboxes when they went to lunch or test drove. Al put dog food in the Bill’s tool box because he said “Bill is getting all the gravy so here is some gravy train!” The next day Bill greased Al’s lock on his tool box and it went downhill from there. Both were locking their tools up and everyone was acting grumpy. Al took a few more jokes from Bill and then when Bill was gone on a test drive he drilled a hole in the side of Bill’s tool box and inserted a grease fitting. Using the shop’s high pressure grease gun it pumped chassis lube until it ran out the edges of the locked box. Well, Bill and Al fought and were fired on the spot. I sure am glad that I don’t have to work in conditions like that anymore. We would call it “Horseplay” in our labs and quickly put a stop to it.

I hope all of you are ready for this New Year and have a good start so far. I know budgets are tight and furloughs are occurring in many systems. Try to go to as many conferences and workshops as you can, join NACAT www.nacat.org, network with as many teachers as you can, call any new teacher in your area and offer a hand of fellowship to them. I hope to meet and see all of you in Orlando this July at the NACAT national conference. If your state does not have a NACAT get a few teachers together, call NACAT national and see how to set up your own state chapter.

Enjoy, Share, Create!

Sonnyjreeves@hotmail.com

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https://autoteachersonny.wordpress.com/

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