How I’m Working [3/13/20]

Since most people in my world are being asked to adjust their work practices, I figured I would start a log of how I’m working and what I’m able to “get done” by shifting my typical routines. I’m not claiming to be an expert at remote work, but I do think we can learn from each other’s approaches at times like this — especially if we share the why underneath our choices and behaviors.

This log is from Friday, March 13, 2020. My school was closed except for administrators and people who had to handle mailings or building issues. It will be closed fully starting Monday.

I started the day as I always do — having a cup of coffee with my wife. This is the foundation of my day, every day.

I set up a Slack channel for a team that I run. I picked this team because, if our school moves to real-time, online instruction after our upcoming break, it will be critical to our school’s success. I used Slack to create a focused, online place for this team to work, should the need arise.

I showed my daughter some public facing writing I’ve been working on and explained to her why I’ve been doing this work on top of everything else that parents have to do right now. In short, I’m healthy, safe, and comfortable at the moment, and I have a small bit of expertise in a needed area (leading and teaching online). Service comes in different forms, but at times like this, if you can, you probably should.

I emailed my 9th grade English class. The goal of the communication was to remind them that I’m still present in their lives (even though school has been cancelled leading into Spring Break), to tell them what they should be reading, and to wish them a safe, happy, and healthy break. (Sub goal: to show them how to be human when handling one’s business online.)

I helped my daughter recover a password for a program that would allow her to design a birthday present for her brother. His birthday plans included a trip to an NBA basketball game, so we’re working on other ways to celebrate.

I helped Reshan (my writing partner) streamline some ideas for an upcoming podcast appearance related to the public facing writing mentioned above.

I met with another leadership team via Zoom. Our goal was to think about a program that we are supposed to run in May. We discussed KNOWN ISSUES, CONTINGENCY PLANS, and COMMUNICATION PLANS.

I wrote to the leadership team mentioned earlier when one member asked me if we were moving all of our business to Slack right away. I told the team we’re using a two phase approach. Phase 1 is about capacity building. The goal is simply to log in, set up a profile, play around a bit, and understand some of the affordances of Slack. Phase 2 will be full-on use, with all communications moved onto the platform.

I managed some of the social media inputs related to the public facing writing mentioned earlier. I paid particular attention to what seems to be resonating with people and which aspects of the writing people have been quoting and sharing.

I met with a student via Google Meet. She had some questions about a paper she was working on, so we used two panels: one allowed us to speak to each other, one allowed us to look at her paper, which she had shared with me as a Google Doc. Within the first 30 seconds of the call, she said: “if this is what online school is going to be like, then this is going to be just fine.”

Near the end of my workday, I joined a conference call with another team.

After that, I went outside. The sun was shining brightly. My son, daughter, and I played soccer in the park and eventually ended up in a hardware store to buy a hex key allen wrench set to allow us to adjust the height on a bicycle seat. On the way back home, my daughter said, “I’m going to attach this tool to my backpack just in case I need it when I go back to school, whenever that will be.”

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