Andy Kemp: This is how I work

I am Andy Kemp and this is how I work

Andy Kemp

Current job: Director of Studies

Been a teacher since: Secondary Teacher since 2005; Adult Education since 2002

Location: Wells, Somerset

Current mobile device: iPhone 5

Current computer: iMac at work, and an 11” Macbook air at home

School-issued devices: iMac, iPad mini, and iPhone 5

One word that best describes how you work: If I had to chose one word that best describes how I work I guess I would say ‘focussed’

How do you manage your calendar/diary?

I manage my diary in Google Calendar (which we use for all our school calendars), this enables me to have access to my diary from lots of devices and enables my PA to add events to my diary as the day goes on!  To make it easier to add events to my diary I love Fantastical, which enables me to make new calendar events using natural language!

How do you manage your marking?

I find Saturday mornings when the office is quieter a good time to do some marking!

What’s your best tip for term-time weekends?

By the time I get to the end of Saturday it’s typically been a busy week, so I try to keep Sunday’s free to spend with my wife and children who have to suffer from my perpetual distraction during the week!

What do you do during school holidays?

As well as spending time with my family in recent years I’ve used the school holidays for personal study.  I studied for my MSc a few years ago, and decided to keep going and am currently trying to finish my EdD.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

I love Google Docs for it’s ability to work collaboratively on documents with other people in the school – this saves me a huge amount of time!

I use Reeder (on Mac, iPad and iPhone) to read my RSS feeds, which enables me to keep an overview of what is happening in several news areas – unfortunately this is based on Google Reader which is being discontinued so I’m still waiting to see what the developers of Reeder come up with to keep this going!

In a similar vein I started using Pocket again about 6 months or so ago, and finally got it working for me (the missing link was having it linked to everything else I use!).  This enables me to keep track of the the longer articles I’d like to read but otherwise wouldn’t get round to – and is great for catching up with when sat on a train!

I do less of this than I used to, but am a massive fan of ScreenSteps for producing user guides and documentation – and will be going back to this next year when we replace our MIS!

Not related to my work but for my studying I couldn’t get by without the combination of Sente – which manages all my journal articles and Scrivener which is the best writing application I’ve ever found for when you need to write something of any serious length!

What offline tools can’t you live without?

A cup of tea!

What’s your main workspace like?

My office is in a beautiful building.  It has a good sized desk which holds my iMac and several chairs which I use to meet with various people throughout the day.  I don’t feel like I’ve really left my mark on it however as it’s still full of stuff that belonged to my predecessor!

What do you listen to while you work?

I tend not to listen to music at school, as it would be too distracting for others around as my office door is nearly always open.  When I’m working at home my go to music is anything by Counting Crows!

What’s your best time-saving trick?

Work out when you can save 20 emails with a 15min meeting, and when you can save an hour long meeting with an email!

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?

I’ve tried most of them and have never managed to use any properly.  I’m currently notionally using Things…  But keep most of it in my head.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?

My Kindle!  Whilst I don’t read as much as I’d like to, I find I’m reading much more with my Kindle than I was beforehand!

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

Making technology work – not by doing anything in particular – but seemingly my presence in the room means that when people try the same thing they did 5mins before, it works when I’m standing watching!  I blame it on my magnetic personality…

What’s your sleep routine like?

I’m definitely a night person by preference and am rarely in bed before midnight, my alarm then goes off at 6:45am marking the beginning of another day!  I usually get to school around 8am.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

Definitely an introvert at heart, but have worked hard at my extroverted characteristics

Who would you like to see answer these same questions?

I would like to I’d like to see Mark Steed (@independenthead) & Kevin Fear (@kevinfear) answer these same questions.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Take every opportunity presented to you, as you never know where they will lead!


Many thanks to Andy for agreeing to post here. Other This Is How I Work posts are available here

Andy Kemp: This is how I work

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