Back-to-School is a daunting time for students, parents, and teachers alike. It is a time filled with promise and hope, yet uncertainty. We wonder what the next year holds and sometimes thinking of all the things that we need to accomplish before the year begins can get overwhelming. What can we do to make this time of anticipation and busyness easier? Here are six steps to ensuring a great school year:
- Get Psyched!
One of the greatest motivators for your students is having a teacher who is motivated herself. You are entrusted with an amazing task: molding and educating young minds so that their futures and, consequently, the future of our society at large are the best they can be. Yes, you are that important. When you remember the profundity of your role, it will motivate you to become the best teacher possible and put in the effort required to shape your students into better people.
- Get Organized!
Remember last year when you promised yourself that you would organize your classroom library so that students can easily find books that interest and delight them? Now is the time to put these sorts of systems into place. Start the year off with a clear organizational plan. Your classroom should be a place of comfort and structure, for you and your students. Make sure you have organized systems in place for completed papers, graded papers, etc. I suggest making a list of three areas where you think your organization can best be improved and put new organizational systems in place for at least those three items. Check out our previous post on the OHIO Principle for ideas on maintaining organization throughout the school year.
- Get Planning!
Making a clear plan for your year is vital for success and improvement as a teacher. If you are an elementary rookie teacher or have only been teaching for a short time, I suggest picking one subject to spend the bulk of your time planning for and improving upon each year. All subjects are important, but be realistic about your limited time. Do your best for all subjects, but really pour your energy into one subject each year, making sure you have made your instruction and planning in that area your personal best. If you are a seasoned teacher, don’t rest on your laurels. There are always areas for improvement. Choose a unit you know can be better and make it your best ever.
- Get Help!
Sometimes trying to get ready for Back-to-School alone is a near impossible task. Enlist the help of family, friends, experienced teachers, and students’ parents to make your year a success. Family and friends can help set up and move furniture and décor in your classroom. Ask an experienced teacher to share his organizational methods or unit plans to inspire you. Most seasoned teachers remember the overwhelm of their earlier teaching years and are happy to help a new teacher. Ask students’ parents to make copies, shop for needed items, or organize books and supplies for you.
- Get Committed!
Teaching is a profession that is never perfected. There is always room for improvement. Commit to having a “lifelong learner” attitude about your career. Invest your time in workshops and teacher trainings. Read books that inspire and motivate you. Learn to become a better classroom manager or reading teacher. Only you know the areas where you can improve. Set a SMART Goal for yourself for the school year or the first term and do your best to meet it.
- Get Healthy!
You know those students who come to school with little energy because they don’t get enough sleep or eat healthy? Teachers can be the same way! Make sure you treat yourself with the respect you deserve and take care of yourself. Get enough rest and eat well so that you don’t get teacher burn out before the end of September. Pamper yourself on the tough teaching days. Find balance in your life by making your personal life a priority. Doing so will make you a refreshed version of yourself so that you can be the teacher your students deserve.
Here’s to a successful back-to-school!