Back to School: Why LESS is MORE!
Going Back to School? It’s one of the most exciting, yet most stressful times of the year for teachers! There is so much to do! Where do you even start? We are here to give you some Back to School advice on what to do LESS of during these hectic first days of school!
Problem: We’ve all been to Target, Michael’s, Walmart (or even a little late night Amazon browsing) and have made impulse purchases on something that was “really cute” or something that you “really needed.” Now, a month later into school, you are realizing that you really didn’t NEED it… you WANTED it. Often, these little items from the “Dollar Spot” turn to clutter and get thrown into a drawer never to be seen again.
Solution: Spend Less! Set a budget! Budgets are different for everyone. We have found that a manageable budget, for us, is $100. We NEVER spend more than $100 when going Back to School. Our budget really makes us prioritize our laundry list of supplies into what we NEED and what we WANT. Sit down and make this list and make it a goal to SPEND LESS this year!
Problem: Our plates are FULL! No, wait, our plates are OVERFLOWING with tasks to complete when going Back to School. You could spend weeks setting up your classroom and organizing. There is no way to ever be “done.”
Solution: Work Less. Sounds impossible, right? Here’s our advice. Ask for help! Make a list of everything that you have to get done to feel prepared for the first day of school. Now, sort out these tasks into two columns. Label one column “Things I Have to Do” and ” Things Others Can Do for Me.” Some examples of “Things I Have to Do” are: lesson planning, seating arrangements, organizing copies/ handouts for Back to School. Some examples of “Things Others Can Do for Me” are: passing out books, running copies, or cleaning. Now… who can help you? Family? Friends? Former Students? We guarantee there is someone ready to help you… just pay them in chocolate… or Starbucks! If you simply cannot find anyone to help you, get your “Things I Have to Do” list done and let the other side go. Plan it for another day. You are the only one who will really know that the bookshelf needs to be dusted!
Problem: You planned so many amazing, wonderful, fun activities for the first day of school that you rushed your students through them and tried to get it all done, but still had some activities left at the end of the day. You’re exhausted and so are your students. They left in chaos and then went home to tell their parents about the crazy day they had. YIKES!
Solution: Plan Less. Prioritize. List everything that you want to do on the first day of school. Look at your time blocks for your day. Plan one activity/ lesson for each time block. Now, make a list of smaller activities that you COULD do if you had some extra time. Remember, your students are coming into your classroom after being on summer break. They work at a slower pace than your students did at the end of last year. They will get less done. It’s better to have a calm environment on day one than a day full of chaos and being rushed. Let your students enjoy the day and leave feeling excited to come back!
Problem: As teachers, we have so many routines to go over and for some reason, we feel like we need to go over all of them on Day 1. We speed through all of our procedures and then on Day 2, none of our students remember a thing because they tuned us out after 10 min (if we’re lucky!). We leave at the end of the day hoarse and exhausted from talking all day.
Solution: Talk Less. Don’t talk just for the sake of talking. Got a long list of procedures to go over? Explain them as they come up and check them off your list. Students will remember them more when they are actually doing the routine rather than listening to how it’s done. Also, provide some downtime for students in your first days of school. Have some time where there is silence, some calming classical music, or time where students are doing the talking. Some examples are Silent Reading, writing, sharing about their summer or art! Find a way to talk less in your first days back to school.
Problem: Going back to school is so crazy that I don’t even remember what I did last year! I guess I have to start from scratch and figure it all out again this year!
Solution: Procrastinate Less. This is going to sound a little crazy, but here it goes anyways. Start planning for next year’s back to school season NOW! Yup! You read that right! As you are doing “all the things,” write them down. Make a list of what worked and things you would like to change. This way, you are not reinventing the wheel every year. File the list in a file labeled, “Back to School.” It’s as simple as that! Now, it’s sitting there waiting for you to be ULTRA prepared for next year’s hectic Back to School season!
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