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Does this sound like you? “I find at the end of each day it is very easy for people to leave work with their main thought being what did not go well or what did not get done” (Studer, 10.9.2013). If this is you, consider the following charge from Studer Group Founder Quint Studer:

Make the Last Item on Your Daily Checklist: One Action Completed to Make Themselves or Their Area or the Organization Better.

Why? Studer shares the following learning experience:

What we learned is it helped people pause and take time to focus on what did get done versus what did not get done. People left feeling better which led to a better night and a more motivated start the next day… It [has] a positive impact on company.

Why else? Consider the impact such personal reflections can have on an organization when colleagues are able to see the difference each other is making in the organization and in the lives of others. My colleagues and I embraced the Founder’s charge and below are our responses:

Today I worked on improving the process for getting our students placed in the field with mentor instructors.  I helped 2 interested students with their inquiries about our program for recruitment purposes.

Today I was able to prevent a current teacher’s teaching license from expiring by allowing them to join a TeacherReady® cohort that is already 3 weeks underway (the deadline for admission into this cohort was September 1). The student was able to submit all admissions paperwork and make necessary payments within 24 hours and he will catch up with course assignments over the weekend. Thanks for sending us this exercise-it feels great to end the day focusing on the positive.

Today I completed a Completer Checklist on our Datacenter that will allow the TeacherReady® staff to electronically track a student’s progress through the program. This was a rather long and tedious process, not to mention it required paper. The staff was delighted with the outcome and the efficiencies it would provide. Creating something that makes their lives a little easier (more efficient) and seeing them smile was worth everything!

Today I worked with a TeacherReady® student who thought she was going to have to quit due to financial issues stemming from the government shutdown.  I offered various payment plan options so that she can stay in TeacherReady®.  I could tell her anxiety level dropped when she realized we not only understood but also were happy to offer help. Trying to make a difference, one student at a time.

Today I worked with the TeacherReady® team members to design layouts for birthday cards for the TeacherReady® students and alumni. We will start sending a Happy Birthday card to all of the students and alumni to wish them a happy birthday. We want to build our personal relationship with each student and continue our relationship after the students complete the program. We want to continue to promote positive feelings in our students regarding their selection of the TeacherReady® Program, and sending cards to recognize special days in our students lives helps to build positive feelings in our team members.

Today I was at [school name] attending data conversations with K-2 grade teachers. During the meetings I engaged with the reading coach and teachers, focusing discussion on how the classroom-level and individual student-level data might inform instruction (e.g., whole group, small group, or 1-on-1 opportunities for the most impact; accelerated v. remedial opportunities). However, these were not the conversations that left me feeling jazzed. The final group of teachers at the end of the day included one of our TeacherReady® second career teachers, [teacher’s name]. When she walked in I greeted her and mentioned that I wanted to come hang out with her for a bit next week as I heard from Dr. Largue that she was doing great things with her students. At the close of the meeting [the teacher] talked with me about how how she was never a fast learner or the fastest at getting a new concept, that she wish she had become a teacher 20 years ago… there was more, but essentially she communicated how her experience helps her with kids now. She said her experience guides her to share with students, “I don’t care that you’re not the fastest… you can do this and I will help you.” She went on to say that I won’t see anything special when I visit her and supported her statement with an example, “If a child learns 15 sight words in 1 hour then I know he/she has never been exposed! So, we move on to more and more!” Of course, her example allowed me to counter, “That, [Ms. _____],” I said, “is what makes you so special; you take the time to know why a student is having trouble and work with them from there.”

I have been with the [name] school district for the last several days working with school and school district leaders debriefing on tactics and strategies. We debriefed with school leaders on the roll out and action plans for improvement based on the parent satisfaction survey. One of the lowest ranked items for the school district as well as most schools was “positive notes home.” A school leader shared that a goal of her faculty was to send 3 positive notes per week home to parents. She said she stopped at a local restaurant where one of her parents worked. She said the parent had to tell her about the note, what it said and that it was the first positive not she had received from any school. The leader returned to school and relayed the story about the parent to the teacher responsible for the note home. This particular teacher had not been eager to embrace positive note—but she complied. The event between the leader and the parent changed the view of the teacher and it is a better year for the teacher, her students, their parents—and the leader of the school. What we know is that we have to face the brutal facts and plan for improvement. Then the world of possibilities for success opens.

[We] were in [Name] School District today. The Superintendent closed our session. We debriefed with principals on the survey roll out process and leader rounding and then closed with presenting the proposed district scorecard with the pillar goals and measures.  [The Superintendent] did such a nice job with key words that blended accountability and the important roles people play to support others.  As the superintendent he modeled the behavior he expects to see.  He also sees the need to be a representative role model.  Times like these make my day. 

In The Great Employee Handbook Studer says, “When we like our work, lots of other things outside of work seem to improve” (p. 211). Consider adding this reflective action item to your daily “to do” list and use it as an opportunity to see the value of the work you and your colleagues do and the meaning it has to each of you.

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Studer, Quint. (October 9, 2013). Company Email Correspondence.

Studer, Quint. (2012). The Great Employee Handbook: Making Work and Life Better. Gulf Breeze, FL: Fire Starter Publishing.

Our mission at Studer Education is to provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. Visit us online at http://studereducation.com and follow us on Twitter @StuderEducation. Studer Education is a division of Studer Group, ranked for the sixth straight year on the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by Great Place to Work® and a recipient of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.