Friday, October 3, 2008

Great expectations

Since I'm getting ready to start a new year of school visits, I was thinking about:

Basic Expectations

What should a school expect from an author?

What should an author expect from a school?

On the most basic level.

Here's what I came up with:

What a school should expect from an author:
  1. The author will be prompt. (Prompt means early enough to meet the contact person, set up any equipment, use the restroom, and be ready to start at the designated time.)
  2. The author will bring all necessary equipment. (That means any equipment that the author has not asked the school to provide, such as laptops or projectors.)
  3. The author will have a well-planned, well-timed presentation. (That means staying focused on the subject and not finishing earlier or later than scheduled.)
  4. The author will understand and respect the school environment. (That means the author isn't frustrated by tight schedules or less-than-perfect facilities.)

What an author should expect from a school:
  1. Someone at the school will be there to greet/escort her - or at the very least, someone in the office will be aware of the scheduled visit and the location for the presentation. (And if the author has specified that she is arriving 30 minutes early to set up equipment, someone is there 30 minutes early.)
  2. Any previously requested equipment will be set up and ready. (And someone will be available to help in the event of an equipment glitch.)
  3. Students will know who she is and be familiar with her books.
  4. Students will arrive at the presentation on time.
  5. Teachers will remain with the students.
  6. Teachers will take on the responsibility of disciplining students, if necessary (and not leave that to the author.)
  7. Some authors (not me) expect to sell books.

Pretty basic, huh?

(Yeah, I realize that there are more expectations on the author's side, but, hey, I'm an author. Heh...)

Of course, there are lots of other things on the part of both the school and the author that go beyond the basics that make an author visit the best that it can be:

Like here
And here
And here
And here
And here


Anonymous said...

Great advice. I'll never forget the small, cozy presentation I did in one media center - when one teacher sat and graded papers and another casually flipped through a newspaper.

debrennersmith said...

Clear expectations help presentations go smoother. Remembering that teachers do not plan author visits or ask for this type of ''interruption'' for their students might help you understand why some teachers do not react well or are down right rude. As a classroom teacher, I have often been told of an author visit 5 minutes before the visit. Therefore, my students did not know the books. I was not rude to the author, but I was very frustrated with the less than educational experience it was for my students (not the author's fault!). When considering the school environment, make sure that the children/teachers know that you are coming. If you are not going to sign books, make sure the teachers/students know that ahead of time. I remember one time that I bought a book that the author wrote for every child in my classroom, the author refused to sign them because they were not purchased from 'her' endorsed bookstore that day. My students were very disappointed. I know that you are a wonderful author visit. This triggered emotion for me!

Barbara O'Connor said...

Great advice and info, Deb! It always helps to see things from both sides. I can't even imagine why someone would plan an author visit and not inform the teachers. But thankfully, I'm guessing that is not the norm and sometimes things just, well, fall thru the cracks. I think the whole author visit really hinges on the planner/coordinator - to communicate effectively between both parties. Don't you think so?

At any rate - thanks for your input. Always good to get the info right from the trenches.