Manic May! Tools for Survival!

Oh boy, I can feel it…May is here! Manic May! Hold on people, saddle up, I’ve got my big girl pants on, do you?! Actually my “big girl pants” translate to sassy shoes and big earrings. I’m not sure why, but they just seem to help this time of year.

If you’re an educator, you know ALL that May holds. Oh May. As I take a quick glance at my calendar I see the following events jumping out at me: 6th grade camp, Family Fun Night “Fiesta Familiar”, Teacher Appreciation Week, 6 leadership team meetings, retirement parties, spring music concerts, North Bay CUE Tech Jam Event, school golf tournament, Volunteer Tea, Principal of the Day for 2 of my students (do they know what they’ve signed up for?), paper screening for two principals we’re hiring in the district, interviews for two teacher openings at Penngrove, Open House, Pasta Feed, Westside Relays, evaluations that are due (ummm…), welcome party for our new Superintendent, 2nd Annual Penngrove Amazing Race, Giants game w/ Remind friends, 6th grade promotion, Field Day, nine field trips, and thirteen IEP meetings for students. YES! Get ready! Welcome to the month of late nights and early mornings. Let’s do this!

Some evenings when I finally sit down, I reflect on the day and wonder how the past 12-14 hours even happened. It is in those moments that I think of the amazing people around me who pour their heart and soul into their work. I’m so fortunate to work with a dynamic staff of educators who put students first and foremost day after day.

In addition to having an incredible team, finding and using tools to increase my productivity level and efficiency is a MUST as an elementary principal. Any time that I can save 5 minutes here, or 10 minutes there, is a GIFT! Saving time means being in classrooms, learning with students, supporting teachers, building relationships, and connecting.

This year, I have found myself constantly leveraging Twitter, Snagit, and Remind as I power through the days. (and they are all free!) With May here, I am even more excited to use these tools to keep my head above water!  Twitter allows me to tell the story of our school, Remind helps me connect with families and send important updates, and Snagit?! Where to begin?

In a recent conversation with my colleague, Catina Haugen, I asked her what she loves the most about Snagit. I think Catina summed it up best when she shared that, “Snagit works seamlessly between Chrome and your Google Drive. It’s an amazing tool for students to share their work, as well as for teachers to provide instruction and guidance to students and families. The ease of use, the ease of sharing, it just has that seamless quality between creation and sharing that is key!” Ummmm – YES! My favorite screencast I did this year was showing parents the new method on our school website to report student attendance. Whether you are using the free Snagit for Chrome Extension, or the more feature-rich desktop version of Snagit (only $30 for educators and SO worth it!), it’s magical!

As we launch into Manic May, let’s not forget to leverage the powerful tools we have at our fingertips to make more time for our students and ourselves. The work we do as educators is hard and oh so worth it. Saddle up! It’s May!

About the Author


Amy Fadeji is the principal of Penngrove Amy FadejiElementary in Petaluma, California. In her third year as principal, she has found herself reaching out to educators across the country to build a growing network of innovative and inspiring colleagues. After attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and later the University of Southern Mississippi, Amy taught second and third grades for seven years in Mobile, Alabama and San Anselmo, California before launching her career in administration. Amy is passionate about supporting teachers, modeling and encouraging risk-taking, and collaborating with other educators around the country.

You can follow Amy on Twitter (@mrsfadeji) or read her latest blog post at