Back to School Basics for Teachers
By Karen Cioffi and Robyn Feltman
Well, so much for summer break. The teaching grind is just around the corner. Yeah, yeah, two months off isn’t long enough, but hey, it’s pretty good.
So, now it’s time to start getting in gear to go back to the professional attire and mindset, early morning rising, and don’t forget to get your bladder in shape so that one daily visit to the rest room will be enough.
Okay, let’s go down the checklist for the things you’ll need to get prepared for the inevitable day:
1. Don’t forget to wait until the last minute to get your teacher supplies at the teacher store so you’ll have time to make an hour worth of phone calls while you’re waiting on line, because all the other teachers waited for the last minute also.
2. Get started writing your lesson plans for the first couple of weeks, but don’t get too attached to them, because you know they’ll change once you get in the swing of things.
3. Remember to agonize over picking that first day’s book that you’ll read to your class. Of course, they will be absolutely enthralled and give you 100% of their attention – they’ve been waiting all summer to have this book read to them.
4. Create a new schedule plan. No more beach days; no more waking up at 10am or later; no more having the use of a restroom ANY time of the day; no more use of the phone anytime of the day; no more eating whenever you want; and no more peace and quiet.
5. Start working today to get your body and mind prepared for 30 or so restless kids with different personalities, strengths and weakness; for 30 or so sets of parents with different personalities; for the school administration, and for your co-workers. Start building your strength, stamina, and inner resilience – you’re going to need it.
6. Get your mindset in order. Repeat the following mantra 100 – 1000 times a day:
My days in class will be productive and calm; my students will not affect my well-being; I will remember my teaching skills; my students are great and I love them; my students enjoy learning; all my students will pass the State tests with flying colors; my students’ parents are wonderful as is my school administration.
7. Calm your nerves. You will be able to teach again; you will be able to get back into your professional mode; you will be able to concentrate on what you’re doing.
8. Watch those late nights. Be sure to start at least a week before school and go to bed at a reasonable hour. You will definitely need your rest.
9. Mark the calendar: 180 working days to go until next summer’s vacation – let the countdown begin!
Robyn Feltman is a 4th grade NYC public school teacher.
Karen Cioffi Freelance Writer