August 12, 2018

6 Tips for a Successful Back to School Week

Can you believe it is AUGUST?! What happened to the summer? I'm pretty sure I say that every year, but seriously! It goes quickly!

Whether you are going back this week (like me) or next month, this post will help you have a great first week back. That first week is critical but can also be stressful, emotional, and definitely exhausting. Here are 6 tips for the first week back to help you stay sane.

I cannot stress this enough... spending at least two weeks on implementing and practicing routines and procedures with your students is CRUCIAL. If you'd like a smooth year, take the time now to teach these things. You might think your class will know to raise their hand to speak, but odds are that after 2 months off from school, they're going to need that practice again. Ultimately, it is a new year with new kiddos and to them, YOU are a new teacher. Set your expectations, because you are probably a lot different from their teacher from last year. If you are in search of a fun way to practice new routines and procedures, check out this board game that I use every year to practice with a partner!

If you are part of a team of teachers, I always suggest to plan together. This can be difficult at times, but having other people around to share the load with you is worth the time invested up front. Set aside time to plan the first week out. They might have ideas you've never thought of or can remind you of things you haven't thought about in a long time (and vice versa). Teamwork makes the dream work!

If you're like me, you've been known to shove last minute messes into a cabinet and shut the door... only to frustrate yourself in a few weeks. I am very Type B... so organizing early is not one of my favorite things to do. This year, I sucked it up and did what needed to be done! And I am so excited that I can now focus on the things that are much more important: my students and their learning. You have a lot on your plate throughout the year. Make it easy on your future self and get it together now.

You don't want to spend the first days and weeks of school rushing around figuring things out for your home. Figure it out now so you can focus on back to school. Every year, I set aside a day before I go back to work and I cook for hours. I make tons of meals ahead of time and freeze them with instructions on how they need to be heated or cooked when I get home. This means: NO grocery shopping for dinner for a while; NO eating out when you're too tired to cook; and NO big loads of dishes to do during the work week! If you're looking for some freezer meal ideas, I used this blog and it was so helpful! I made enough dinners for my family of three for two work weeks for just $150.

In addition to figuring out meals, don't put off finding childcare. Wait lists are CRAZY! I also suggest treating your tired self when you go back to work and hire someone to thoroughly deep clean your home. This one time service is totally worth your time and energy. Plus, it is amazing to come home to a clean house. I mentioned I'm pretty Type B... so my house after being professionally cleaned is WAY better than when I do it. Hello, Hotel Home!

Once you're at school and you've met your darling little nuggets for the year, start to REALLY get to know them as early as possible. This sets the stage for a positive community in your classroom and learning can truly begin. Try to sit down and talk to your students to find out more about them. Take a moment each day to call a couple of parents to let them know who you are, answer any questions they might have, and let them know how excited you are to have their child in your class. That early relationship building goes a long way.

This is the most overwhelming time of the year. Exciting? Yes! Exhausting? Double yes... Listen to your body and your emotions. If you are feeling frustrated, reach out for help or reach out for clarification. If you are feeling exhausted, what you're working on CAN wait. Take a nap or go to bed early. You owe it you yourself after the exhausting few weeks of Back to School.

Back to School season is a lot of things and I hope for you that it is exciting! Happy 2018-2019 school year!

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