Just Do It!
Although this is a snazzy tag line for a famous athletic equipment company, it can also be a state of mind! Sometimes we have to put those three simple words in our heads in order to convince ourselves we CAN do it!
Grant Writing...for most teachers, this is a foreign language...generalizations aside, a lot of teachers are intimidated when it comes to writing grants! Early in my education career, I thought that those who were more experienced or smarter were the only teachers who received grants...that is until the day I made myself “Just Do It!” I overcame my fears and authored my first grant…from that moment, I was hooked! I am now in the process of authoring my 8th grant and wanted to share a few grant writing tips with you!
· Search for grant opportunities—I usually begin thinking of grant topics when I see an area that my students need help with! All of my grants have been born out of needing equipment, software, or materials to meet the needs of my students. This is ever changing, and so are the grants I apply for!
· RESEARCH, ReSeArCh, research—Once you have located a grant that will allow you to meet the needs of your students, research the various aspects of that particular grant. What does the application process entail? Are there specific requirements in order to apply? What is the actual commitment? How long is the commitment? What products do I have to produce to prove I have met the requirements of the grant? After you have researched the entire grant and decided this grant is for you, it’s time to start thinking about your proposal!
· Final Product—I always begin with a final product in mind. This allows me to gather my thoughts and work through problem areas of the unit before I begin writing. I often have several pages of brainstorming before I begin my lesson plan for the project. Not all grants require a lesson plan, but for me, this is the most crucial part! I need to have a plan in order to constructively draft my proposal. So, with an end product in mind and plan in mind, I begin writing the narrative portion of my grants. I’ve found that focusing on the crucial aspects of the lesson, being concise and focused will help in the overall structure of your proposal!
· Be yourself—I think that passion and persistence are key! Your passion for enhancing your lessons and providing for your students in order to meet their needs will shine through if you are writing from the heart! Remember to stay current, research often, and keep pushing yourself to reach out of your comfort zone! If you aren’t successful at first, keep trying! You CAN do it!
I am in NO WAY a professional grant writer, but I have learned a lot along the way…how to reflect, dream BIG, and overcome my fears. The lessons I’ve learned through my grant writing have made me a better teacher! I wish you all the best in your grant writing endeavors...to quote Effie Trinket, "May the odds be ever in your favor!"