communicating when there is “not time”

Clear communication is vital to a healthy organization. In a community of learners, setting the expectations, communicating dates-times-places, and sharing the missional message are all important aspects of this communication path. But how do you do it in an already stretched thin schedule? How do you maximize instructional time, provide quality access to all subjects including “specials”, and have vital unstructured time throughout the day while still finding time together to share a message?

I have found that harnessing the power of technology can make a big impact on providing clarity of expectations. In year two at my school, I can take the time to have small moment interactions with kids and adults throughout the week. However, the avenue for a large scale message has to be concise and electronic. I have always produced a weekly newsletter for faculty to review dates, share important messages, provide a little nugget of inspiration, and share an article, video, or resource for teaching and learning. But this wasn’t getting my message to students. I was dependent on asking the teachers to share, but then…lightbulb.

In previous settings, I used video to record my substitute plans so that music instruction didn’t have to be on “hold” while I would be elsewhere. I used video to share big announcements like student council. Why wouldn’t I use that here?

While we have access to a beautiful, professional-grade television studio, this is decidedly and purposefully low tech. As if we were having a conversation. I want the kids to see the real, unedited Ms. Thomas so they can get used to me as a regular old person. Already, this has led to great interactions with kids AND provided support to the messages frequently articulated by teachers to students. It emphasizes an all-in approach to our messaging.

Nothing can truly replace actual facetime spent together and this method of communicating at some point will become a “wash”, but for now, I am finding that it allows a consistent way to share our missional messages and set clear expectations so no one can ever say, “you never told me that.” More importantly, it gets all of our student body on the same page. It can be played during morning meetings or snack so as not to take instructional time and is not so long that it loses attention. Thus far in the school year, I have sent three which provides ample time between messages to provide novelty.

How might we work towards clarity of communication when were are strapped for time? For me, an iphone camera, an unlisted youtube account, and an email link are worth their weight in gold. What works for you? Share with me, @teach2connect to continue our learning together.

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