Are you ready to jump back into the school year yet? After a long, luxurious summer break, it can be challenging to ease back into the school year mindset. Start with these eight steps to get back into the teaching groove.
Take it Slow
For some teachers, getting back into “school mode” can be a shock. You can minimize this by easing back into your teaching responsibilities slowly. Start by listing out everything you need to do, from attending meetings and buying supplies, to organizing your lesson plans. Then, plan out a timeline for completing those tasks.
Start by tackling your to-do list an hour or two per day, and then work up to longer days as the first day of school approaches. Yes, your summer vacation and your teaching duties will overlap, but this tactic makes for a smooth transition.
Streamline Your Professional Life
If you’re not currently using technology to help keep yourself organized as a teacher, now is a great time to start. Productivity apps like Trello can help you organize your upcoming tasks for the school year, and others like Dropbox allow you to access your teaching-related files from any device. Even apps like Focus@will, which plays music that aids in concentration, will help you stay on task when prepping for the new school year. That way, you can accomplish more without sacrificing your entire summer vacation.
Prepare in a Fun, Comfortable Environment
During the summer, you have the freedom to plan for the school year from wherever you please, and that can make preparing for teaching fun. Enjoy the summer sun while you work on your curriculum, or visit a café where you can indulge in great coffee and pastries. Have fun with it, too. For example, if you love back-to-school shopping or creating posters for your classroom, put that at the top of your to-do list. The fun, easy tasks will help remind you of your love of teaching.
Plan with a Friend
You can complete many of your back-to-school tasks with a friend or colleague, and it’s a great way to have fun while preparing for back-to-school. Start by trying these ideas:
- Meet up with a fellow teacher at a park, café, or wherever else you’re comfortable, and bounce ideas off each other for lesson plans.
- Invite other teachers to accompany you for back-to-school shopping for your classroom.
- Plan some time to get together and help each other set up your classrooms as school approaches.
With someone keeping you company, getting back into the school spirit should be a breeze.
Rehearse Your First Day
Just like kids get anxious about their first day back in school, teachers can get nervous about their upcoming classes. Ease some of those nerves by rehearsing how you’d like the first day to go. How will you greet students when they enter the room? What will you say during your welcome speech? Is there a list of rules you need to review on the first day?
This is another good time to grab a friend who can watch you rehearse and give feedback before the first day of school arrives. Rehearsing for the first day is especially useful if you’re new to teaching or simply teaching a new grade.
However, be sure you’re preparing for the unexpected. You never know if you’ll need that first aid kit on the first day, or if you’ll have to reassign seats because students can’t get along. Talk with other teachers about issues they’ve experienced to help you prepare for what could happen on the first day or week. Preparing for mishaps will help you and your students ease into the school year easier should something go wrong.
Stay Connected with the Kids
One of the worst parts of summer vacation is that you start to miss your former students. However, keeping in touch with them can remind you just how fun the school year was and how exciting the next year can be. Call to see if any of your students (from previous classes or your upcoming classes) are willing to help you set up your classroom. Otherwise, visit the library, or get involved with community events over the summer to keep in touch with them.
Learn Your New Students’ Names Before the First Day
One of the tough parts of starting a new school year is that everything is fresh, for both you and your students. It makes hopping from summer into the school year challenging, but luckily you can alleviate some of those “unfamiliar” feelings to make the transition easier.
Start by learning your new students’ names prior to the first day of class. You can look through last year’s school pictures to help put a face to each student’s name. It also helps to create a seating chart so you’re familiar with where to seat students on the first day.
Not only is this easier on you, but it also shows your students that you care and are looking forward to the school year with them.
Take Care of Yourself
To truly take care of your students, you have to take care of yourself. This means eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, exercising often, and even taking the time to pursue your own passions. It’s no secret that teachers’ lives are stressful, but getting into a habit of self-care now will help boost your productivity as you prepare for the upcoming year. If you keep those habits throughout the school year, you’ll feel more engaged as you manage your stress levels.
Start with this list of suggestions so that when you return to school, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to take on the challenge of a new school year. What’s your plan for slipping out of summer and into the school year?