It's Back to School time whether you are ready or not! So, what can you do to start out on a positive note this school year? Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.
Here are the 5 things I'm working on right now to be ready for those cutie pies when they walk through my door.
1. Classroom Management - Procedures
A few years ago, I made a list of all of my classroom procedures. Then, I sparsed them out over the the first week of school by priority. First, I taught the procedure, we practiced, then I reminded, etc., etc. Does that work? Kind of. Some students get it the first time and others not so much.
This school year, I took a cue from some very smart teacher bloggers and made a procedure manual for my kiddos. It's still a work in progress, so I'm going to copy it right before the first day. Then, I'm going to make that the focus of our first week of school - setting up those procedures and routines. Each student will then have their own copy to use as a reference. I think my 3rd graders are going to really like that.
I have printed all of the curriculum maps that my county provides for us so I can start thinking about what I'm teaching in the first month of school. This is my 6th year in 3rd grade, so I know what we are teaching, but I always want to try new things to keep it fresh for me. As Angela Watson says, "Find some bright spots in your curriculum to look forward to". That's my goal for curriculum this year - keeping it fresh and interesting for both students and this teacher!
3. Classroom Decor
At my school we take EVERYTHING down in our classrooms before we leave for the summer. So, classroom set up is kind of a big deal and takes quite a bit of time. Even if you have your stuff ready to go - borders bought, signs printed and laminated, baskets labeled, and so on. During the summer, if I am changing my room decor, I work on lots of this kind of stuff while I have the time. Then in August it just has to be hung up, stapled, or hot glued where I want it. I know there are teachers who walk in on the first reporting day and start thinking about this stuff but - I DON'T KNOW HOW THEY DO IT!! Sounds terrifying to me. It's such a better feeling to be ready even if you give up a little time in the summer.
4. First Week's Plans
That first week is a killer! Exhaustion, sleeplessness, hyper-multi-tasking...all these things converge and by Friday, everyone stumbles home in a daze. So, in order to survive that week, I'm getting all my first week's plans done and ready to go before returning. It's one more thing I don't have to worry about.
5. Personal Goals
One of the hardest things to do after we return to school in August is to balance school life and personal life. That first month to 6 weeks is overwhelming and it's hard to just go home and leave things undone. But you have to. You have to have a life, so make a plan to do that. I like to stay in shape by running and I will admit I let that go last year. So, this year my personal goal is to run 3 times a week. No matter what.
Teaching is a tough job, but I love it and I would not want to be doing anything else. So, if doing a few things before we return to school helps me be a better teacher or a more balanced human - it's totally worth it.
What are you working on?
What are you working on?