Years ago I spent my days in a classroom, mostly in the primary grades. I didn’t realize it at the time, but teaching kids and helping them understand the world around them was very fulfilling. Now, almost 18 years later, there are times when I really miss the hustle and bustle of grade school.
There were days that required my absence. Rarely was I ill, but there were various things that would come up and I would need to plan for a day away from my students.
The goal in planning for a substitute teacher is peace of mind--for the person who would take the reins while I was out, for myself so that I wouldn’t worry about how things were going, but most of all my students who relied on my daily presence to take care of their concerns on a daily basis.
This means that I had to make sure that every detail I communicated and organized to the substitute would result in my classroom running just as if I was present. Trust me, if I forgot something, I heard about it. And the complaints were not from the teacher, but boy oh boy, my students were very clear about what they did or did not like while I was out.
Of course, my lesson plans had to be complete and crystal clear, down to the most minute detail. But often, it was the planning beyond the obvious that took the most time. And it was on these details that all of our peace of mind rested.
Kids are interesting. They are bright, and I mean all of them in their individual ways. They all want to do very well, and feel successful. Also very important to them, even though it looks different for almost every student, they yearn for order and structure. Knowing what to expect helps them work well because surprises that create confusion and uncertainty affect every part of them, mentally, socially and emotionally.
Substitutes are interesting too. They come in all sorts of behavior and professional ‘sizes’ as well. Some are clearly there for a check, others are trying to gain experience in a classroom before they decide on a career in education, and others are there for the sheer fun and excitement of being around bright creative minds that keep them on their toes for a day or two.
Most subs liked my classrooms because they walked into an organized day with kids prepared for another usual day. Some of my classes could have run on autopilot, which of course I would never do, because the minute I think that then somebody would do what I thought they never would, and chaos would happen. Sort of sounds like my day here in my truck brokerage! Just when I think ‘that would never happen,’ well, it does.
Some substitutes did not like my classrooms. Because my detailed plans, down to how to expect my class to line up for recess, turn in their homework, and even discipline George, all of these nitty gritty details held the sub accountable, not only to me but the class. No one who failed to follow protocol could escape the fury of a prepared 2nd grader! Oh, the sub might get one break, but don’t make the same mistake twice!
I left information on the class extroverts and introverts. The sub would have pre knowledge on who would be rude during a four square game, who would try to explain why it was the mother’s fault that the student forgot the homework, who would know the answer but was too bashful to call out an answer, who would tell you that ‘we always go to lunch 20 minutes early,’ and maybe even why we should have an extra recess. Oh yeah, everything written, including how to respond and be prepared to deal with the all of the surprises.
So my organization gave the sub confidence that the day would progress smoothly, and my own mind was at rest while I was away so that I could devote my full attention to my day off. But most of all, I knew that if the substitute was even mostly diligent, then my students would be worry free and they too could enjoy their day. This meant a lot to me because many kids come to school for peace of mind, because it is not at home. I had the privilege of bringing that relief and rest to these students for at least a few hours of their day.
A lot of work for a day off! But there was no alternative if I wanted to give the people most dependent on my effort a great measure of confidence that all would be fine while I was away.
Do you see how this training in the classroom is helping me now?
Of course, obviously, details matter.
Also, I live for ‘peace of mind.’ And not only for myself, but for my customers, our trucking companies (dispatchers, drivers, bookkeepers, owners) and shippers (sales and shipping.) My goal, every day, is to give all the people that depend on us here at Pam Young & Company, Inc. a steady, full, and very real sense that all is taken care of and things are being handled well.
I knew my students had expectations, and it was important to me to exceed them. Today, our customers too have expectations, and we are always finding ways to exceed them.
Aly and I are experts at understanding details. In fact a buyer friend of mine introduced me to a supplier of his by saying “She’ll drive you nuts over the nitty gritty but you will know that she has your back!”
Here is what I want you to hear and heed:
Moving produce is about to undergo major changes that will be disruptive, chaotic and have many areas that could leave people exposed to serious threats in their businesses.
The Sanitary Transportation Rule, in its final form, is scheduled to published at the end of March.
Yes, there is time to begin implementing, and it is also true that depending on the size of your company, you will have different timeframes within which to comply. There are even some possibilities that the FDA would issue a waiver, in specific circumstances.
But know, in most cases, and I think I would even be bold enough to argue in ALL cases, ignoring the rule, either by procrastinating in putting your safe transportation program together, or in being incomplete or incompetent in how your program will function, this will pose serious risks to your company.
I guess the real issue, or question, that we all must ask ourselves is how much peace of mind do we want when we move produce?
And to me, the answer rests on who most expects this peace of mind when they eat the produce we move? Right...the end consumer, people.
Earlier I mentioned that the most important group to me that depended most on my diligence and determination to line out the day in the classroom during my absence was my students. They needed to know that when I was gone, life was safe and sound in those four walls. They trusted me to care for them down to the nitty gritty detail.
Whoever ‘touches’ your loads of fresh food better be experts in handling the most sensitive and sometimes the smallest of details. It has always been interesting to me how quick suppliers are to hand off the transportation to their customers. We hear “We don’t get the trucks, thank goodness” or “We don’t have anything to do with the transportation.”
I would humbly suggest that you begin to be a bit more involved and proactive in your produce shipments. Your business will depend on it. Your customers are depending on it, even if they get the truck.
As always, I write from ‘the middle.’ My perspective is from the broker’s seat. So, my advice to you brokers, step up and give your customers the tranquility that your customers are paying for, are expecting, and very much deserve.
And to those of you who are supplying/selling or receiving/buying fresh produce, whoever you are depending on right now to move your produce must have peace of mind as their main goal. Both for you and for the people you hope will buy and eat your produce. Do not settle, do not compromise and do not think you have to do this alone.
Count on your transportation partners for peace of mind!
I am supposed to finish all my communications (blogs, website, newsletters etc.) with a CTA. Yes, a Call to Action. I guess I struggle with being pushy, but I will ask you to call us if you have questions, or are uncertain about any detail involved in moving produce. We are experts, and are very eager to help you.
Please do not hesitate:
Pam is at (800) 538-5904 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Aly is at (541) 306-0524 or email@example.com