By Sarah Miller, High School Teacher, Chicago Area
East Chicago Central High School in East Chicago, IN
Hi, it’s me, Sarah, again. As a high school teacher in the Chicago area, I’m now officially in the throes of returning to school, as are so many other teachers across the country. This article is Part 2 of my post entitled, Finding Your Back-to-School Mindset. You’ll find Part 1 here if you’d like to check that out before reading this second part. Otherwise, read on for a few more stand-alone tips that have definitely helped me to get back into the swing of this brand new school year. I hope these ideas help you, too. Be sure to post your thoughts below and let me know. I’d love to hear from you.
Wake Up on EST: Earlier School Time
Summer is typically a time for relaxation. While I still worked quite hard over the summer as the director of a day camp, I did get the pleasure of sleeping in a little bit later and not having to be at work as early as I do when I am at school. One of the hardest transitions for me as I move from “Summer Mode” to “School Mode” is my sleep time. I’ve learned there is no easy way, but I have found an easi-ER way: About a week before I need to be back on my regular school schedule, I start to set my alarm a little bit earlier each day. I begin with 5-10 minutes on the first day of the week, and as the week goes on, I get up earlier and earlier until I’m waking up on my during school schedule.
Some days are easier than others to wake up earlier, but I tough it out because, for me, this is the right way for and it will make getting up for school that much easier. With so much to contend with during the first weeks of school, I’ve learned this is one stress I can avoid. When I am well rested and used to waking up at the same time each day, I know I am better prepared for what comes my way during the week; and the first weeks are crucial in the school year.
Remember WHY You Teach!
I loved the relaxing nature of the summer and used a sliver of it to reflect about the past year. I make a list of why I became a teacher. I like to remind myself of the many great reasons I teach. This list definitely eases my transition and I begin to look forward to this fresh start.
When I review past successes, I want to push myself even further to become the best teacher I can possibly be this year. When I remember past students who made big gains and learned a lot while in my class, I become eager to teach new students wand help them make their gains. I also enjoy connecting with former students, smiling at growth spurts and summer accomplishments, and watching them head off to their new classes. I remind myself that my work helped them to be ready. By identifying why you became a teacher, you’ll likely become more excited to begin the new school year. Remembering why you teach can make you a happier teacher.
This “Remember” desk accessory from Teacher Peach serves as a functional reminder if you’re looking for a few new school supplies just for you. Not only are there 1400 flags and stickies, this desk accessory contains a powerful message, one I treasure as a teacher. Even though I teach high school students, I love that the word “children” is highlighted; my high school students are amazing individuals, but it is my job to remember that even though some of them tower over me at six feet tall, they’re still children in need of my help, guidance, and support. Needless to say, though, I keep this lid closed and take a peek when they are not looking!
Pick a Peachy Treat!
Just as our students get excited to sharpen new pencils, unzip new trappers, and select a new backpack, as teachers, we can also use a back-to-school boost. Teacher accessories from Teacher Peach might be just the ticket to get your school year off to a fresh and inspired start—they’re budget friendly, too.
Check out these boat totes. I love both the message and the size options. Talk about getting a constant reminder about why I decided to teach! This tote helps me to carry my gear—and my cheer.
If you’re on the hunt for a meaningful tote with a zipper, look at the Words to Grow By products by Teacher Peach. These two bags will get all of your products students into a literary mood! The small version is $18.95 and the fancier style, with rolled handles and flat board at the bottom, runs $49.95, a great start-to-school splurge. This pattern also comes on a laptop case and journal, too.
Expand Your Community
As you embrace your return to school, I so hope you’ll connect with me here at Teacher Peach. Share your re-entry ideas, let me know what works for you, and if you take a peek at the many products Teacher Peach creates for just us teachers at teacherpeach.com, let me know your favorites! Here’s to a terrific start to your school year. I’ll be back online in the coming weeks with exciting posts about pressing issues for our students including executive functioning, planning, and forming great habits.