16+ Ways for Teachers to Be Sure to Start the School Year Off Great

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The new school year is almost here! It’s hard to believe.  As we get back into the routine there are a few ideas that may help. Beginning a new school year can be exciting.  When you have a plan to get started it helps make those first few days of adjustment better for both you and your students.

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Start browsing through your curated sites (i.e. Pinterest, FlipBoard or ScoopIt), think about your classroom and curriculum, make notes and jot out diagrams of modifications to you would like to make to your curriculum and/or classroom, update your website (nobody likes reading a biography from 2 years ago). Look into participating in some Twitter chats (Jerry Blumengarten has an inexhaustible list of PLNs based on the topic or content of your choosing complete with description and times when the group meets for a live chat on his website: http://edupln.ning.com/groups . Don’t forget to follow him @cybraryman1). Update your accounts (i.e. descriptions and pictures) and make sure you have the correct logins. Look for new ideas and share your successes with your PLN. 
  2.  Clean the house, stock the pantry, cook and freeze some meals (Pinterest has some great recipes or stock up on Sam’s or Costco meals), mow the yard and work in the garden, and make sure the laundry basket is empty. This way when you come home from school exhausted those first few days, you won’t be concerned with domestic chores.
  3. Have a ME day. Make an appointment at the spa, get your nails done, play a round of golf or shop until you drop. Just take some TLC time for yourself before the school year starts.
  4. Eliminate last year’s baggage. Last year is behind you so get over it and proceed on with the new school year. If you have legitimate concerns, make an appointment with your administrators and address it with solutions rather than complaints. 
  5. Return from your trips at least 2-3 days before the school year starts. This will give you a few days to relax and get ready for the adventures of a new year.
  6. Pull out your positive attitude and smile. If you have put the positive vibes and attitude away for the summer get them out and practice smiling and enjoying life a few weeks before school starts.
  7. Keep exercising. If you don’t exercise start a program. Take a walk, ride a bike, jog, join a Latin dance class or get involved with an activity that gets your heart rate up. Begin with a simple plan and incorporate it into your daily schedule.  If you have troubles sticking with an exercise regimen grab a partner to hold you accountable. Adding this component to your life will make you feel better, give you more energy, help decrease stress and encourage you with a sense of accomplishment
  8. Start getting up at your regular work time at least a week before school starts.  Practice timing how long it takes you to get ready so that you know exactly the time it takes and don’t feel rushed the first day back. Also, getting back into your routine won’t be such a shock to your body.
  9. Evaluate last year’s “try its” and delivered instruction.  Make changes where necessary; eliminate things that didn’t work, and enhance something to make it awesome.
  10. If you don’t already have a professional mentor set a goal to find one and quickly.  Rely on them for advice and or suggestions.  This will empower you as a teacher/leader to others outside your classroom walls allowing you to be a true facilitator of learning and helping ALL students in your path directly or indirectly. 
  11. Start planning for ways to continue a growth mindset. Look for some virtual PD opportunities and/or book study with other teachers on your campus or through Twitter or Google Hangouts.
  12. Step back and evaluate the atmosphere of your classroom, your team and your campus.  Come up with a plan to jazz up your classroom, your team’s PLC meeting spot and help to rejuvenate a “dead spot” in your hall or building.  Sometimes freshness in the environment may create freshness in ideas.
  13. Remember a happy healthy teacher is essential for positive productive students. (I take a daily vitamin and bump up my immune system during the flu season with Airborne.)  When flu shots come available get yours… I am fortunate to be in a district that provides the flu shot to all employees.
  14. Think proactive rather than reactive.  
  15. Try to meet all the new teachers to your campus. Especially welcome the new ones that are on your team or hall. I like to bring them a soda, homemade banana bread or offer to help for a couple of hours in their room to get things together.  I want them to know how awesome the place is they have come to work and embrace the culture/environment.  The sooner they feel like family the happier they are.  The happier they are the happier their students are.
  16. Stock up on some healthy snacks.  You may not have a relaxing lunch period for some days to come. I like to have dried fruit and nut trail mixes, popcorn, and protein bars nearby along with a decent sized stash of water bottles and drink enhancers like Mio.  This helps stave off the desire to hit the vending machines in the lounge and fill up on unhealthy snacks and sodas.

 

***This list was inspired and somewhat “pirated” from my friend and colleague Sue Fitzgerald who writes the blog “The Unpretentious Librarian” you can find her original post here: http://unpretentiouslibrarian.blogspot.com/2013/08/tips-to-start-new-school-year.html

Please add to the list below!

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