Here are 5 things a teacher should remember before going back to school. Good luck everybody!
1. Keep Yourself
Whether or not you taught summer school or took a class or two, you certainly had a few weeks to discover or remember who you are. You are a person, not just a teacher, and never you forget that. This summer you had a social life with friends and family, you went on dates to find that special someone, you read or listened to books, you shopped, you meditated, you cooked, you worked out and sometimes you did nothing at all and were content.
Schedule your life in! Maintain a personal calendar this year and make sure you continue to do all the things that made you happy during the summer—yes ALL. This is a sure way to be happy all year. Be as organized with your life as you are with your lesson plans (probably a bad analogy for some of you, but you get the point!)
2. Students are People First
Teachers have a mission every day. And we demand that our classes follow that mission. On the occasions when this does not occur, we get frustrated. What is their problem? They were so crazy today. But if we consider our classes as groups of people, first, when one or two people refuse to conform, we understand that they are acting human not crazy. There’s been countless times when I’ve gone against the grain, because that’s who I am. It doesn’t mean that I cared less, it just meant that I am who I am. Allow for kids to be who they are, and you will stress less when they don’t act like wireless machines.
3. Dress Intentionally
I remember my high school Chemistry teacher dressed in jeans and sneakers every day and also, my classmates and I snickered, looked like a chipmunk. Whatever your classroom swag is, please develop one. Students watch your every move and know when you need a shape-up or a manicure before you know you need one. Also, our appearance (a significant aspect of body language) sends signals you may or may not want communicated. Be intentional with your style of dress and use of color. You do want your personality to shine through (but how much?). You do want to seem approachable, yet firm. You do want to seem like you know your stuff. And since you have a great personality and know your stuff, let your appearance speak louder than words.
4. Care Less
Thank you my little monsters (Lady Gaga’s phrase, not mine.) Don’t, I repeat, don’t stress out. Rome was not built in a day. Remember, the goal is to make a difference, not a makeover. The child you receive in September has had the pleasure of many years of schooling and/or shaping by their home and environment. You are not a magician, and therefore care less about the things you cannot change, and more about the things that you can. Also, when the students are getting to you, never let them see you sweat.
5. Be Early
I mean this in two ways. Number one, take advantage of the early morning hours to plan for the things that you want to do in your life. Every day that you wake up, you have a set amount of energy for the day. All too often, work sucks up that energy. By the time you return home you are 1. Too hungry. And 2. Too tired. Use the early morning hours to be sure you are taking care of you first: jogging, doing laundry, planning your lunch, writing, brainstorming your business idea, meditating, checking your child’s homework, etc. Number two, be early to work. Preparation is key. Prepare yourself and prepare your classroom for the day.