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Teacher leading singing childrenHow many times have we been assigned to do something we didn’t expect? From banquets to Christmas pageants to parent days, it happens. Sometimes what we’re asked to do is simple. Other times, it’s definitely out of our comfort zone!

Take a look at nine ideas for thriving in those new responsibilities.

  1. Look for the good.

    What new skills will you develop? How can you reach students in a different way? Get a deeper motivation than “It’s my job” by thinking through the positives.

  2. Don’t start from scratch.

    Find out who ran it before, get their contact info, and ask for their advice. See if they wrote a manual or any information for their students that they could pass along to you.

    If there’s no manual, make one! It’ll be worth the time if you’re assigned the duty again.

  3. Build your team—and be choosy about it.

    If you can, recruit students you know would be great for the job. Take applications. Make joining your team something to be earned instead of something taken for granted.

  4. Establish expectations.

    Just like you do in class, make it clear from the beginning what you expect. Even if you don’t have the specifics yet, outline your general expectations about behavior, attendance, commitment, responsibilities, attitude, etc.

  5. Delegate.

    Look at students’ strengths or interests when you assign roles. (If you’re not sure about their strengths or interests yet, create a questionnaire.)

    Assign more than one student to a financial or recordkeeping role for accountability.

  6. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

    If a play or fundraiser has worked well in the past, do it again. (But feel free to make it better!) It’s more exciting to try something totally new, but it can also be more work and mean more problem solving.

  7. Set deadlines.

    Establish deadlines for each part of what you’re doing. With yearbook for instance, set when you need to have all the pictures in for each grade/section, copy, captions, proofreading, cover design, etc.

  8. Get help.

    If parents or others offer to help, say yes. Set up a volunteer day or two for helpers to come work on painting the set or decorating for the senior banquet.

    For yearbook, see if you can get help from the publisher. For a play, look for ideas in blog posts or school productions on YouTube.

  9. Just do your best, and ask everyone else involved to do the same.

    At the end of the day, isn’t that what counts?

    There will be typos in the yearbook. There will be forgotten lines. There will be a few hiccups in the process. What’s most important is not that you achieve perfection, but that you took every step toward success that you could.