If you’re like me, then you aren’t ready to give up your messy hair, don’t care attitude, and casual mornings relaxing in bed without the pesky alarm reminding you it’s time to hit the floor running. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve spent more days than I can count in loungewear if you could even call it that. I know the last thing you want to think about is a return to the classroom, but there are three things you can do now to make the transition easier.
1. PUT TOGETHER AN AT-SCHOOL CARE KIT
Let’s talk self-care. During the first weeks of back-to-school preparation, in-service, and PD, you're going to love that you took the time to put together a care kit you leave at school. Here is what I include in mine:
Comfy Shoes - You'll be on your feet a lot, so a change of shoes during conference or even a short break can make a difference. Wear those stylish shoes and look fantastic but trust me when I say your feet will need rescuing at some point.
Face Spritzer - At first I thought this was all hype. I’d read about carrying a face spritzer for travel, so I finally decided to give it a go. Well let me tell you I became an instant believer. It’s amazing how much a refreshing face spray can bring you back to life after a long, tiring day. There are a lot of great choices.
Snacks and Water - Chances are you’re going to miss lunch. I have a small container of high protein bars, mixed nuts or trail mix, instant noodles or oatmeal packs, and flavored protein water add-ins. When I’m hydrated and have taken in enough protein, it makes a huge difference in my energy levels and mood.
Ibuprofen, Anti-diarrheal, Antacid, and Sanitzer - You may laugh at this, but I won’t be caught off guard having to run to the nurse. You can't just leave your class of students without supervision, and sometimes it isn't easy to find coverage. All of these have saved my life at some point during my career. 😊
Change of clothing - Throw in a change of clothing from top to bottom so you’re prepared when the unexpected becomes a reality. Depending on the grade level you teach, there are all sorts of possibilities waiting to happen. And they happen.
Sweater and Blanket - Room temperatures will vary and become unstable at least once during the school year. Be prepared. The throw is perfect for wrapping up and taking a quick power nap. Lock your door, turn out the lights, and set an alarm on your phone!
Other Necessities - Some of the extras for me include a set of contacts, breath mints, a small flashlight for power outages, a phone charger, and hair accessories.
2. PLAN YOUR CLASSROOM SYSTEMS
I'll let you in on a secret that took me years into my teaching career to learn - when you implement well-defined classroom systems and routines, your students learn how to self-regulate, monitor behavior and learning, and respect classroom expectations. I just wish I had known that when I first started out teaching. I definitely didn't get any training on establishing classroom systems in my teacher courses. And quite honestly, I spent much of my beginning years trying to make the whole classroom management thing work. That’s why I created a short, self-paced video workshop that helps you get your procedures and systems in place. Check out the Classroom Systems Course.
When students know exactly what behaviors are expected and what their individual role is in your classroom and the learning environment, there is less chance for disorganization, confusion, distraction or misbehavior. Don’t start the year without well-planned systems. It's a matter of putting into place key procedures that will make your classes run seamlessly.
3. SIGN UP FOR THE CALM.COM APP
I could tell you how I spend 20 minutes every day in a meditative state of bliss, but honestly, it doesn't happen daily. I love this free app (for teachers and schools) because it can be used for quick meditations, listening to soothing nature sounds, and claims to reduce anxiety and boost confidence. The best thing is that it’s free for teachers by completing the sign-up form. Use it in the classroom with kids as well. Get the appathttps://www.calm.com/schools The approval process takes a couple of days, and then you are ready to go with the Calm Schools Initiative. I really like using the Soundscapes for background music when students are working independently. The sleep stories would be perfect for writing and visualization activities. Just make sure everyone stays awake!
How do you prepare for a new school year? Comment and let me know! Share this post with all your teacher friends who need an extra bit of motivation this summer.