While summer vacation is still upon us, the new school year will be here before you know it. If you’re feeling a bit anxious about the upcoming fall term, you’re not alone. Here are some ideas to help you get into a back to school mindset.
Ask yourself what you most enjoy about your work. Think about your past teaching experience—namely, what worked, what didn’t, and how you can be more effective in the classroom. Consider ahead of time how you will deal with challenging situations at school. Decide when and how you will relax after work. Using your time effectively and managing stress are critical to achieving a healthy work-life balance.
Consider what you want to accomplish this year. Set manageable goals that are challenging, but not overwhelming. Decide how you will reward yourself for your successes, and don’t be too hard on yourself when you fall short.
Take Care of Yourself
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and eating a balanced diet so you can get the year off to a strong and healthy start. Use this vacation time to do things you enjoy so you’ll feel rejuvenated on the first day.
Change It Up
While it’s good to have a routine, it can sometimes feel like we’re just doing the same old thing. Think about doing something a little out of the ordinary this year. Create a different classroom atmosphere to help you and your students stay more focused. Choose a theme for the year or for each grading period and plan lessons and creative activities around it. The theme could be centered on a historic event, social cause, or other topic you’d like to explore.
Similarly, a change of scenery can help you transition to back to school mode. Rearrange or get fresh furniture. Decorate walls, bookcases, and file cabinets. Brightly-colored bulletin boards and revamped learning centers can spruce up your classroom and get you and your students excited about the new year.
Look for resources and time management strategies that can free up your schedule. For example, you can find a treasure trove of materials online and from colleagues to reduce the amount of preparation you have to do “from scratch.”
While it’s tempting to take the whole summer off, seasoned educators recommend preparing for the new academic year at least a few weeks before it starts. Locate the resources you need and get your classroom organized before the first day. A little preparation and a positive outlook will help you close the book on back to school stress.