It’s coming. Your thoughts start swirling, and you know, regardless of the job description listed under your LinkedIn profile, a new school year is on the horizon. Of course you are excited — perhaps about where to hang your posters and pictures of your pets and kids, or about the absolute beauty of new Sharpies organized neatly in your drawer. But, as you start to talk shop again after a bit of a break about playlists and projects and engagement and Common Core, you are also longing for summer, and days spent waking up to your own clock rather than one set for you, eating breakfast in your pjs, maybe not even until 11 a.m., wearing loose clothing, shoes being optional, staying up late, and catching up with friends, chores, closets, and more.
But, it is time to snap out of it! There is work to be done, and as the saying goes, most of the important work in the world is done by tired people (or something like that). So, how do you start the school year feeling fresh? Here are a few tips I’ve gathered from some of my awesome colleagues in Riverside Unified School District. Please share some of your own in the comments section, and cheers to a productive year!
1. Have a regret session. Think back to all of the things you did last year, but wish you hadn’t. Write it all down. Talk to it. And then, let it go! Literally. Crumple it up and throw it away. You can’t go back and do it again. Embrace that. Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up. Move forward.
2. Make a list of positives. Write down things that you did well too. Celebrate those!
3. Surround yourself with things that make you feel good. Keep positive notes (or letters, or newspaper clippings, or evaluations) from previous students, colleagues, and parents. Take them out to remind you of why you do what you do.
4. Turn up the music. Really loud. Rock out while you set up your classroom, on your way to work, while taking a walk. Blast tunes that make you feel happy.
5. Eat good food. Have some delicious, hearty, healthy, summer meals and snacks leading up to the start of the school year. If you’ve already started, keep eating well.
6. Rearrange your room. Even if it’s something small like moving a bookshelf, restacking books, bringing in a plant, your favorite coffee cup(s), a lamp, funky garage sale art, or mixing up your view, change things up and make your space inviting. Don’t feel like you have to cover every wall with standards and content specific material either (unless those really inspire you).
7. Get a new outfit. Buy yourself something really cool for your first day of school. Even on a tight budget, you can find a good deal, and even if it’s not completely new, it will be new to you.
8. Get a pedicure. Even the guys! Pamper yourself. Fresh feet are important for all of us.
9. Get together with colleagues who inspire you. Have dinner, drinks, discussion (not about school), and do this off campus.
10. On the big day, do something interesting with your new students. Do you have to be the fifth teacher who goes over the syllabus with them?
Laugh. Get plenty of rest. Learn. Stay flexible. And…have a great year!