It's back to school time!! You have been planning and pinteresting all summer and now it is here, the new school year. It is exciting and stressful all at the same time. Teachers have soooooo much to do to get ready for students but do not forget to take care of YOU because YOU MATTER TOO! I know your students will be super excited to see all the cool stuff you have in your classroom but they really just want to see you, their teacher. You are the star of the show, and that means you have to not be completely exhausted before you even meet the kids. Here are a few tips to help you lower your back to school stress.
1. Your classroom does not have to be pinterest perfect.
I want you to ignore all of these thoughts that I know are in your head right now:
"but if my classroom is perfect then the school year will go more smoothly"
"but the parents will think I am not an amazing teacher if my room is not perfect"
"but then I will not be able to take an instagram-worthy photo of my classroom"
I get it, it is good to start off right and sometimes that makes us feel like everything has to be totally prepared for the first day of school. However, you are under time constraints and still have to attend all those faculty trainings so you are going to have to prioritize. Make a list and think about what are things that must be done, and things that can wait.
2. Plan your day and set realistic goals.
Use that beautiful Erin Condren planner you bought to set goals for your day, week, and month. When I say goals, I do not mean writing "work on classroom" for the day. I mean be specific and write exactly what you want to accomplish, and be realistic. I like to write a little square box in front of my tasks so I can check them off as I complete them (very satisifying). For example, ⬜Finish Bulletin Board ⬜Set up word wall ⬜Yoga.
3. Schedule "me" time.
Did you notice that last bullet point was yoga? It is just as important to plan your "me" time, as it is to plan your teaching day. Whatever it is you like to do that is just for you, maybe its working out, watching netflix, meditating, or reading a book. Make sure you plan for it in your day, and do not skip it. It will be tempting because you will think it's not as important as completing other things, but self-care is critical to your well-being. Your students need you to be well, more than they need that perfect bulletin board.
4. Slow your spending roll.
You know what is really stressful? Being broke. I know because I am a recovering/still work in progress shop-a-holic, especially on school supplies and decor. My weaknesses are the same as yours, Target Dollar Spot, Dollar Tree, Hobby Lobby, Micheals, ACE, Amazon and do not even get me started on TpT. The thing is though, it all adds up, even at the Dollar Store. So make sure you do not end up with the perfect flexible seating chairs in your classroom, and no money left for things you need in your personal life. Think about spreading out the spending, add some of those things to your wish list for later. Consider using a similar theme year after year, or alternate. Set up a go fund me for the more expensive items you want, you never know what can get funded.
5. Focus on what you can control.
You can not control when you get your class list or who is on it, no matter how many times you ask for it. You do not have to have everything labeled with names on it. It does look nice, and I am a label fan myself so I understand the appeal but that is not something you can control so you have to let it go. You also can not control how many trainings/PD's your principal makes you sit through. Even if it is so boring you have started to contemplate how life got you there, you have to do it. Complaining about it, or thinking constantly about all the stuff you need to do in your classroom will only cause you anxiety and frustration. Say it with me now, let it go.
Happy Back to School,