Getting Back into Teaching Mode…

The middle of July always brings about some anxiety for teachers as we prepare to start the next school year. After 5 years of continuous work, even over the summer, I spent half of this summer not thinking about my own teaching and coaching much. I still participated in summer camps and other community events, but today is the first day I’m trying to start thinking about the beginning of the school year so I can get back into “work mode.”

This year, I also feel the anxiety that many others feel at this time. My grade level is changing after 2 years and I’ll be teaching a curriculum that I haven’t taught in 3-4 years and have only taught once. I’ll also still be coaching at least 4 teachers as well as participating in my own and others’ professional development throughout the year. Despite the fact that I haven’t been working and preparing over the summer, I’m ready to begin and am looking to others to help me figure out how to get started.

I checked out two different perspectives online: one from Edutopia, a specifically educational perspective, and another from Lifehacker, which comes from a broader perspective. Both articles offered several tips which were helpful and using their information and my own thoughts, I created my own list of how to ease back in based on how I know I’ll be working over the next two weeks:

How to Get Back into Teaching Mode

  1. Planning and making lists are two extremely helpful ways in which I stay organized. I suggest making a list of the things that need to get done and then planning out when each of those tasks can happen. I know I have a lot of reading to do before August 5th, so I’ll be planning out how and when to get that reading done, piece by piece. I also need to strategically plan my coaching strategy and teaching routines for this year and will need to take some time to do that, as well.
  2. Having a positive outlook can be crucial when beginning any new endeavor, especially a new school year. It’s really easy for me to be stressed out by thoughts of new curriculum, new grade, new teachers, etc. and it takes more effort to think about the excitement of learning new things and having new experiences. However, it’s the latter that will keep me going when the going inevitably gets rough as school begins.
  3. Alone time can be very helpful when you work in a full office space or school. I often try to get to work early a few days per week to make sure I have time to get my mind organized and know what I need to accomplish in the day before others come in and my focus turns to them. As a coach, my time alone is even more important as that’s the only time I have to work on my own lesson plans and teaching; the rest of my time when others are around is spent ensuring they’re all doing well and fulfilling my coaching responsibilities.
  4. One of my biggest goals this year is to make sure I’m balancing my work and life priorities. I know teaching and coaching are jobs which go way beyond the hours I’m at the office, but I also know that I’ve improved at balancing various priorities throughout the past 5 years. I hope that I’ll be able to keep getting enough sleep, working on my health and finding time to spend enjoying life with my husband while still keeping up with my work responsibilities. Having priorities outside of work will help me make sure I’m able to handle difficulties at work as well.
  5. Having a supportive environment is another way of being able to handle anxiety and the start of a new school year. As a coach, I find it difficult to have time to be able to find support in my colleagues due to time restrictions, but I hope that I’ll be able to find people to rely on inside and outside of work this year. I am consciously looking for activities and people to help me “fill my bucket,” as my boss so aptly puts it.

I’m sure there are many more ideas on how to get back into teaching mode as we start closing off the summer, but these are my top tips for starting off on the right foot. Do you have any other thoughts that might be helpful?

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