Is this kindergarten or The Hunger Games? I’ve asked that question a few times, especially near the beginning of the year. The first week of school is great, but between meetings, putting the final touches on your classroom, observations, oh yea, and teaching your students, it can be a bit overwhelming. So to my fellow Careers (a person who volunteers for the games after training his/her entire life), here are a few tips to help you survive the first week of the games, I mean school.
1. Make a plan
I like to have lesson plans on deck to guide me through the week. You can find my go-to plans here. I don’t read from my plans word for word, but I’d rather be over-prepared than under. So, make a plan but…
2. Don’t feel married to the plan
Like many teachers, I know that plans don’t always work out. You have to be flexible (figuratively, and sometimes literally, depending on the grade you teach). You might not get to everything on your lesson plan, that’s okay; in fact, it’s great!! You know the idea of rollover minutes? Well, welcome to rollover plans. Save those plans for the next day. My first year teaching, I was initially disappointed when we did not get through the entire plan. But I quickly realized it takes time for students to master concepts, so I had to rollover bits and pieces of my plan into the next day. Learning how to transition from the table to the carpet in one day? Nope, now it’s two days (and that’s being generous).
3. Check out library books early
Omg, I cannot stress this point enough. Every year I say I’ll check out library books in July, then August rolls around and they’re all checked out. Back to school books are popular and apparently we all want the same ones. Go figure. This year, I checked out my books the first week in August. Too little, too late. I planned to read First Day Jitters but all of the copies in the city were checked out. So I ordered it on Amazon, only to find out that it would arrive on Tuesday; it’s not called Second Day Jitters. After calling around, I lucked out and found one at a bookstore, about 30 minutes from me. I got the LAST copy of the book the day before school started, but all that to say…check out your books early!
4. Reassure yourself
Sometimes, you have to give yourself a pat on the back. You are a Career after all. You’ve been training for this, you’re an expert, you know what you’re doing, you’re ready! So relax, enjoy your students, enjoy the journey; you’ve got this!
5. Make a plan (again)
I’m not talking about a lesson plan this time. Make a plan to do something on the weekend. Think of something you enjoy – a drink with friends, a massage, working out (oh how I wish that was at the top of my list) – and do that. Anticipating something makes it easier to handle the hustle and bustle that is the first week of school.
What about you? Any tips you live by to survive the first week of school? Please leave any and all tips in the comment section.
Happy teaching and may the odds be ever in your favor,
Marissa’s Teachable Moments