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School's Starting Soon! Are You Ready?

Posted by Joe Clarkin on Aug 6, 2014 11:00:00 PM
Topics: K-12

It's just about that time: Before you know it, you'll be heading back to school. Here are a few tips to get you back in the groove, excerpted from a post by Elena Aguilar. Check these out, then read the whole article on

Does the thought of returning to school result in a tense knot in your stomach, or a joyful flutter in your heart? For most of us, it's probably a mixture of both. I love my work -- I wake up on a Monday morning feeling excited and grateful, and I love weekends and vacation. Sometimes by mid-July we can start feeling a wave of dread creeping up as our summer winds down and we start getting emails about returning to school.

Here are some strategies to manage those feelings, focus on the possibilities, and ease back into the rhythm of teaching:

Take Little Steps

Create a timeline from now until school actually starts and plot out everything you have to do -- meetings and trainings you have to attend. Then list all the things you want or need to do: unit and lesson planning, classroom set up, gathering materials, etc., and plot those out on the calendar. You'll feel better when you've actually identified everything that has to be done; we're so often daunted by a feeling of overwhelm before we've actually named all the components of a big endeavor.

Make the First Steps Fun

Whatever you do during the first week you identify as your first work week, make it as fun as possible. If you're doing unit planning or curriculum development, try doing it in a café, or a park, or somewhere that has perks like good coffee and snacks, fresh air, or amusing distractions.

Also, try to do some of the more fun back-to-school tasks first-shopping for bulletin board materials, compiling poems for community building lessons, creating new posters for your classroom, and so on. Do the easier things that remind you of how much you love teaching.

Find a Friend

Many of these back-to-school teacher-tasks can be done with a colleague. Writing unit plans in a café is even more fun if you've got someone to bounce ideas off of and get support when you get stuck. Of course, you can also incorporate storytelling about your summer and other conversation, you'll probably just want to make some agreements about how much you want to get done. If you have colleagues at your school who are friends, you can help each other set up your classrooms, organize materials, and so on. If you know that on that first day you will return to your classroom you'll have a friend to help and talk with it'll be much easier.

Connect with Kids

As a teacher when I'd return from summer vacation as soon as I saw some of my past or present students, I'd feel an immediate surge of happiness. A reminder of why we're doing all that we're doing made me instantly excited about the school year starting and also relieved the end of summer blues.

Once I noticed this trend in myself, I started intentionally planning to see kids on my first day or two back to school. I'd call a few of them and ask if they wanted to help me organize the classroom (in exchange for pizza, of course). Their enthusiasm and presence made those first days much easier. They did some of the tedious tasks, like sorting boxes of math manipulatives or alphabetizing our classroom library, and they got to have input in how the classroom was organized.

About Joe Clarkin

Joe Clarkin is a former copywriter at MBS. When he’s not working or studying, you’re most likely to find him reading a book or watching a game.

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