It’s only the beginning of July, but after only a few weeks of relaxing, your mind is starting to wander back to the classroom. It’s almost impossible to NOT think about it. All the bloggers are sharing their “Back to School Tips and Tricks” posts. Instagram is blowing up with everyone’s Target Dollar Spot finds. And all of the stores are cruelly showing us, with their Back to School Displays, that summer break will be over before we know it. But it’s got me thinking about my own tips for starting the school year off right. I hope these are helpful to you as you begin to prepare for a new year!
1- Get your Head Right
The great thing about the beginning of the school year is that it’s a fresh start. A great year starts with a great mindset. Maybe you had a really rough time last year, or a really hard class. Maybe you clashed with a teammate, administrator, or parent. I can tell you first hand that even with an awesome team, supportive administration, and great parents, there will always be something to complain about. We all complain sometimes–we’re human and we need to vent. But leave all that baggage from last year behind you. Commit to being a positive force in your building this year. Read some blogs, watch some Gerry Brooks videos on Youtube, or listen to a motivational speaker. Do whatever you need to do get pumped up for a great year!
2- Set a Goal
I don’t mean that goal that your administrator will make you set–ya know, the one that goes on your performance review. What is it about being required to do something that absolutely sucks the fun right out of it? I mean choose a topic that you are genuinely interested in learning more about. Make it something you’re excited about. Last year, my goal was to use many of the strategies from The Reading Strategies Book (off topic–but it’s a GREAT book!) This year, my teammates and I are interested in learning more about STEM activities to implement in the classroom and to expand on what we already know about Project-based learning. We’re also passing around the book, Purposeful Play. When you choose something you’re passionate about, PD is so much more fun!
3- Do something fun with/for your team
A small, inexpensive token is all it takes to show your teammates that you’re excited to start off another year with them. Some ideas include a notepad from the dollar store, mug with a funny saying, pack of pens, colorful sticky notes, or even a candy bar. Another great idea, if you’re able, is to invite your teammates out for a lunch or for coffee, just to touch base and hang out on a personal level. Of course, you’ll talk about nothing but school no matter how hard you try not to, but that’s OK. 😉 Your year will go much more smoothly if you have a great team to support you.
4- Buy something for your classroom
I know you’ve felt it. That high you get right after you’ve raided the Dollar spot, scored the perfect chairs for your classroom library, or opened up that teacher planner that just came in the mail. Go ahead and buy a little something for your classroom. It will excite you and motivate you for the year ahead!
5- Visit your classroom
Visit your classroom before you’re actually required to, if you can. Move some furniture around, think about what bulletin boards you plan to put up, and get the lay of the land again. I always feel better starting pre-service week when my room is at least partially set up. Just don’t go TOO often (see below).
6- Enjoy your summer while you can!
There is nothing worse than being back at school and thinking, “I barely got to enjoy my summer!” If you are constantly working on school things and not relaxing, you just might feel bitter about it once you have to be back. So be sure to spend the last days of summer doing what you love–traveling, sleeping in, Netflix–whatever makes you happy! If you start the year feeling rejuvenated, you will be less stressed, more motivated, and ready to go!
I hope these tips have helped you to see that having your BEST year ever isn’t about creating the perfect Pinterest classroom or jumping on the latest teacher trend. It’s about having the right mindset, setting goals, and enjoying what you do!