This is the time of year that is not only exciting but also challenging. Here are some teacher struggles and some tips on how to deal with them.
1. Your Classroom Before Back To School
Most of us have spent countless hours this summer preparing our rooms. You don’t need a Pinterest-worthy room to be successful. But, you will need to be organized.
Try this: Organization is the key to a successful first few weeks. Label, print, and clean out that closet!
Check out these farmhouse-style bulletin board decorations that will help you be organized and do it in style!
2. PD (Professional Development) During Back To School
Uhhhh! I cringe when I hear that word. Why do administrators think that we need PD? LOL. No, but really, I am not listening to you going on about policies and procedures that have not changed in the last 10 years. Meanwhile, I am thinking of how I am going to differentiate for Johnny this year since I have been told that he was recently diagnosed with Autism. Well then, you also placed Jane in my room, who is a screamer. I am thinking about how all of this will play out since Johnny can’t tolerate the loud noises that I am sure Jane will be making.
Try this: Jot down at least one thing positive that you can take back to your classroom. Also, jot down all of those great ideas of how you will differentiate for your Johnny and Jane, or how you will move your small group table or your list of items you need to get at the grocery store (since your husband probably does not want pizza again tonight)…
3. Managing the New Crew During Back To School
Once they arrive, now what? Every single one of them has their own personality, strengths, weaknesses, etc. Your job for the first few days is to make those fresh-faced students comfortable.
Try this: Make your classroom safe and welcoming. Go over your classroom expectations. Tell them that you have great expectations and encourage them to do their best.
Download a free bright teacher planner here.
4. That Overwhelming Feeling During Back To School
Yes! We ALL get overwhelmed!!! Even veteran teachers get overwhelmed during this time of year. The key to success is to stay positive and pace yourself.
Try this: Get a planner and write it down. I prefer Erin Condren’s planner (I love both her Life Planner and her Teacher Planner). A great online planner is Trello. Trello allows you to create to-do boards for everything from personal to school lesson plans. Planning out your to-do will relieve the overwhelming feeling. If not, try to meditate or do yoga! Don’t stress; you are going to do great!
5. Support Network During Back To School and Beyond
It is very important to have strong support from other staff members. It is also important to support your school secretary, bookkeeper, coaches, custodians, etc.
Try this: Reach out to other teachers when you need help. Let me repeat, REACH OUT to other teachers when you need HELP! This is very hard for most of us, but it is very important. If you feel uncomfortable with someone in your grade level/department, go to another grade level/department.
Somewhere down the path, you will also be asked for help. Or you may see another teacher struggling; reach out to them. We can all succeed TOGETHER.
6. New Special Needs Students
You may have students with special needs or physical handicaps. You are going to need to differentiate how you will help them throughout the year.
Try this: Meet with your support staff. See what works and does not work for each individual student. Reach out to the parents early. Stay in contact and work together to make your year successful.
7. New School Year Means New Parents
Most likely, you will not know most of your parents. You will have to not only help their child but also help them at some point in the school year. REMEMBER: They are sending you their best. Try this: Send a note home that introduces yourself. Let parents know that you are available, and list the process for getting in touch with you. Make sure that you have given your parents a copy of your policies and procedures so that they can refer to them throughout the year.
Teaching is all totally worth it! As educators, we teach our future Einsteins, doctors, firefighters, engineers, bus drivers, police officers, computer programmers, and so many more.
We will celebrate many accomplishments throughout this year. Remember to be patient, be flexible, but most of all…keep a sense of humor.
I am wishing you the best school year ever!
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