Friday Five: Back to School

Three kids walking towards school wearing neon backpacks.

AHHH!!! Back to School Time! This is the time of year that I have the hardest time keeping a work/life balance. I want to start the year with my best foot forward, but this year, I’m focusing on myself throughout the back to school whirlwind. Here are five tips for keeping your cool during back to school! (😂Kills me! I just think that little rhyme is hilarious!) 

One

Set Working Hours

In the last few years, I set working hours for myself, and I made myself stick to them. If I thought of something that needed to be done outside of my working hours, I jotted a note, and I took care of it during my working hours. This allowed me to take time for my friends and family. I wasn’t turning down dinner invitations because I was working on classroom stuff. I worked hard during my working hours, and then I did other things with the rest of my day. I highly recommend setting some working hours for yourself. I chose not to set any working hours over the weekend, but maybe someone would want to spend a few hours working. Everyone will have different working hours during back to school. It all depends on where you’re at as a teacher. Did you just switch schools? Did you change grade levels? Are you returning to the same classroom? These situations might require different working hours than those of us returning to the same school and the same grade level. 

Two

Prioritize Your To Do List

I make incredibly detailed to-do lists during back to school. I make one list that is for things that need to be copied. One list of things that need to be created. One for tasks to accomplish in the classroom. One for tasks that can be accomplished at home.  Make a list that works for you. Personally, I like to write them out on different post-its. Find what works for you. HERE are a few different templates for you to try out, including one where you can label the lists! 

Three

Plan Out the First Two Weeks

I like to map out my first few weeks of school and ensure that I have enough planned. There’s nothing worse than not having enough planned during those first few weeks. Create a detailed plan for the first day of school. Plan out how you’re going to build your classroom community. How are you going to get to know each other? How are you going to learn procedures? When are you going to start teaching your content? What do students in your classroom need to know to be successful? What parent communication are you going to send home in the first few weeks? There’s a lot to plan out, and there’s no such thing as being overprepared in the first weeks. 

FOur

Enlist help if Needed

One year I switched schools and walked into my new classroom to find boxes and boxes of copies. It turned out that our team ordered all of our copies for the entire year! I was so overwhelmed. All of the file cabinets were filled.  I asked the other teachers, and they explained that they keep the boxes and get stuff out as needed. I don’t do clutter in my classroom, and there was no way I was going to be able just to keep the boxes. I called my mom, and she spent hours labeling file folders, organizing the copies by subject, and filing away all the sheets. I managed to fit all of the copies in my file cabinets and felt so relieved. If you need help, grab friends, family, whoever to help you! 

Five

Take Time For Yourself

Make sure to take time for yourself at the beginning of the year. Honor those working hours you set up and take time for yourself. I make sure to plan time to hang out with my friends during back to school time this way, I invest in myself as well as my teacher life. Do something fun. Plan out relaxing or energizing activities for your weekend, but don’t forget to take time for yourself. You don’t want to begin the school year burned out. 

How do you ensure to make time for yourself during back to school time? 

What are your back to school non-negotiables? 

Leave a comment below! 

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