Let me guess, now that we're in August you're having some of those "teacher dreams" that only a teacher knows about. Or you're looking at the calendar and counting down how many days until you go back and are realizing how much you don't have planned.
The endless list in your mind.
I get it.
I'm a full-time middle school classroom teacher who will be entering my 23rd first day of school very soon. I am fully aware that I will have the night before school butterflies like I do every year. Then, 10 seconds after that final bell rings to start the first class, I'll think, "Oh yeah... I remember how to do this!"
So, whether you're a veteran teacher or someone just starting your career here are some things I wish I would have known, done, or believed when I first started teaching:
How cute your classroom is does not equate to how much your students are learning or how good of a teacher you are. Some of the teachers who meant the most to me when I was growing up - I remember how they treated me, not what their classrooms looked like.
Keep a small notebook that is specifically for you to write the date and an attainable goal for the day. If your goal for the day is to greet students at the door, then make sure you do that on that day. If your goal is to connect with 3 students you hadn’t connected with yet, then connect with those 3 students regardless of how your day is going. At the end of the day, dozens of things may have gone wrong, but at least you'll have done that one thing that was your goal for the day. That’s important.
It is OK to say, "No." Especially if you are a new teacher, you might feel like you are obligated to take on EVERYTHING! You're not. If adding something else will take away your serenity, which will take away from how available you are for your students, then by saying, "No" to that thing, you are actually saying, "Yes" to yourself, and therefore your students.
Pick one night every week that is your night, and you will not do ANYTHING school related after a certain time on that night. If that happens to be Wednesday at 5:00, then be true to that. If 5:00 on Wednesday is your time to do what you want then you will get in the habit of scheduling everything else around that time. You will look forward to that night as much as the weekend!
Be at peace knowing that it is 100% OK to take a "mental health" day. During the emergency announcement before a flight, they always tell you that if the oxygen masks drop down, you need to put your own mask on before assisting others. There's a reason for that - just like there's a reason for taking a mental health day. You need to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. I promise, you will feel SO much better for doing so!
So, there's my quick list for you! I wish I would have done these things when I first started, but I do these things now, and I share these ideas with my student teachers and new teachers I work with.
I'll have a bi-weekly email that will be coming your way on Sundays and Thursdays this year filled with tips, freebies at times, and resources I'm featuring or currently using in my own classroom.
All the best!
Matt @ Surviving Social Studies