Is it that time again? Is summer really coming to a close? Yes, it seems it is, but fortunately you still have a few weeks left to rest, relax, and then ramp up for a new beginning. Here are ten tips to kick-start a great new school year.
- Shop for fun supplies
If you’re feeling glum about the end of summer, try getting inspired with new supplies for your room. I know nothing motivates me more than a shopping trip! Even if you don’t end up buying anything, looking at cool new supplies is sure to encourage a sense of excitement for the new school year.
- Start your routine early
You’ve probably heard this before, but it can’t be said enough: beginning your routine before the first day of school is the key to feeling prepared. You don’t have to do the entire routine, but going to sleep and waking up at the same time you’ll need to during the school year will help your body adjust and prevent a feeling of exhaustion.
- Check in with colleagues
If you’ve been out of touch with your fellow teachers during summer break, now’s the time to send a text or email to check in on them. This doesn’t have to be a lengthy conversation; just something brief to get back in the mindset of communicating with colleagues and reconnecting with the school community. If possible, you could plan to meet at school to help each other get your classrooms ready.
- Spruce up your space
You’ll be spending a lot of time in your classroom these next nine months, so do something now that your future self will thank you for. Deep cleaning, reorganizing, or beautifying your environment will pay dividends later in the year when you feel stressed and crunched for time. It also shows your students you care about their experience at school when you put in effort to make the shared space enjoyable.
- Brainstorm lunch ideas
As a teacher, you probably don’t have time to go out for lunch. In spite of this, it’s important to give yourself a break during the school day to focus on yourself and renew your energy. Take an hour or so while you still have time and make a list of easy lunches that can be made ahead of time or in a hurry, so you don’t end up eating from the vending machines, or worse, not eating lunch at all.
- Revisit last year
It seems like years ago, but it’s only been two months since the last school year ended! Before embarking on a new school year, take a few moments and jot down what you remember from last year. What were some good things that happened? What was difficult about it? Anything unexpected, for better or for worse? This revisiting can influence your goals for the coming year and remind you of things you want to avoid and/or encourage.
- Create new goals
Of course, many teacher goals stay the same from year to year. Nevertheless, as stated before, you can take what you learned from last year and create new goals. For example, try a new tech tool, flip a class lesson, revamp a project, or add social-emotional learning to your weekly routine. Before the first day, write down two or three goals you want to focus on this new year.
- Make a plan
Now that you have a few new goals, make a plan to achieve those goals! Just as we often tell our students, failing to plan means you’re planning to fail. Sketch out what concrete actions you’ll take to support your new ambitions. For instance, if trying a new tech tool is one of your goals, then set up automatic reminders to practice the tool and give yourself a deadline for creating one lesson that’ll incorporate it.
- Visualize a successful first day
The night before the first day of school, visualize what a successful day would look like. In your mind, go through the entire day from when you wake up to when you say goodbye to your students. Visualizing success is not a difficult process, but it does take a bit of practice. If this technique is new to you, start two or three days before the first day to get the hang of it.
- Manage your own expectations
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new school year and the promise a fresh start brings. However, it’s crucial to remember that success isn’t the same as perfection. Managing your expectations is part of a successful beginning. It’s also important to remember that success looks different for every teacher, so concentrate on your definition of achieving victory.
By Kelli Drummer-Avendano