Run It Like You Own It

Many new video teachers ask me how I get my program to run so efficiently.

Some seasoned video teachers have also asked me the same question. What’s most interesting is when the administration comes into the class to see students engaged, the class quiet, and me looking like I am not doing anything!

Of course, any teacher knows that a good teacher is one who gets their class to move ahead without the teacher! How does this happen? It’s called “Run It Like You Own It!”

Run It Like You Own It is a business concept that I have applied in the classroom.

Essentially, RILYOI is where everyone in the class or organization takes ownership of the class or organization. I took ownership of my class early on in my teaching career…essentially acting as if the class was my own business. Of course, I can’t “fire” my students for under performance, but I can encourage my students to perform at their highest possible level.

I encourage the students to take ownership of the studio and its equipment. This basic concept has enabled me to not have any theft in my class, reduce any broken equipment and give the students a place to feel like it’s theirs. This concept is especially in operation when the administration comes into the studio to check up on my performance.

I encourage my administration to go into the edit bay and have the students explain what they are doing. It’s then when the concept of RILYOI really takes shape. The Misner01 375students are always encouraged to give tours of the studio, the program and the class. When an administrator really wants to know what makes the teacher tick, the administrator can check the class pulse by talking with the students.

One of the most essential elements of Run It Like You Own It is to “systemize” the structure of the class. For over 5 years, my class is run entirely through my website, AHSvideo.com. My website allows me to change lesson plans on the fly, allows me to interact with students, administrators, parents, and industry and store all of my students’ work in one convenient place. What impresses most teachers though, is that all students turn in the “links” of their work into my site. The work is date and time stamped so I can actually mark projects that are turned in late. In addition, my site allows my to stay 100% paperless! I always have my students write a reflection of what they learned on a project on every project that they do. I do not accept any paper, thus a student writes their paper on Google docs and turns in a link.

I think every organization must have some sort of system in order to grow, thrive and stay efficient. Teaching is time consuming enough. I am always thinking of ways to move my students’ work from them to me in the most efficient manner possible. And yes, this does require the use of technology, but then that’s what our class is all about… using technology as a tool to make us more efficient.

Finally, one of the ingredients that make RILYOI a success for me is that I allow my students to tell me what they want to learn in my class. While I am all about following the standards, most often it’s students who give me the great ideas to make my program grow. The students are the program, and when they realize they have a vested interest in the program itself, they are more likely to succeed in their engagement. For the naysayers that feel that students rarely know what they want, I find this not to be true. Certainly there will be a small handful that will not perform well in your class, please do not those people dictate the success (or failure) of your class. I have found that the vast majority of my students want to learn, they want to show their peers that they can succeed, and my students want to have a say in their learning.

I think it behooves a teacher to stop every now and then, take stock of your program and ask yourself, “what if I ran this program like I owned it?”


MisnerHeadshot 200Tracy Misner is a 23 year industry professional now entering his 7th year teaching at Alpharetta High School in Alpharetta, Georgia. He consults with local school systems concerning program management, equipment purchasing, and best practices.

Misner's program has won 11 Student Production Awards from NATAS in the last three years. His students have gone onto film and video programs at Florida State, USC, UCLA, NYU, Chapman, Georgia State, and UGA. He works with all his former students in networking strategies, course selection and business strategies.

Misner enjoys being with his family, playing guitar, and bike riding.