So, my “tip” is actually a 2-parter… This is my 18th year teaching and I have finally narrowed down my biggest priorities during the craziness of Back to School. It all comes down to connections and copies. It is really that simple.
Of course all the other stuff matters… You should still teach procedures all day, everyday. You need to think out your organizational systems, behavior system, communication system… all the systems… BUT I have learned that IF you really focus on connections and copies – everything else will fall into place.
The absolute best advice I can give you is this: make the connection… even when it is too hard and too time consuming. Just do it. Do it with each and every one of your students. Do it with the parents. Do it with teammates, co-workers & administrators. Especially the ones that are hard to connect with… those are the ones where it is the most important.
You will thank yourself 100 times over. It is time well spent. Everything else can wait. This moment, this new beginning won’t.
This is your chance to start off on the right foot. You can decide to be the person you wanted to be when you took your first education class 100 years ago.
I can pretty much guarantee that when you signed up for that first class you weren’t daydreaming about posting standards, creating rubrics or writing intervention plans. While those things are all important, I am going to just go ahead and say that they are no where near as important as the sparkly eyes of your students.
There really is time to “catch up” on almost everything else… but if you miss the chance to make the connections… you might never get it back.
The very best thing you can decided to do this year is to make the connections…and make extra copies. (Seriously.)
Seriously. Make extra copies. Of everything. In fact, make, get & plan to need more of everything.
Always… make 5 extra copies of everything (maybe 8…)
Make your life easier. Listen, I have a very tight “copy budget”. We are extremely limited in the number of copies we are able to make at my school. However, I have learned that extra copies are worth it.
Inevitably, no matter how well things are going, and no matter how carefully you have planned things out, it is the ONE TIME that you are running late, or have a headache, or are just exhausted that you will get a new student that you had no idea was coming. That is the day that three of your teammates will be out sick and there will be NO substitutes available.
You will wind up with 5 extra students in your class when they have to split up classes – and you will be SO, so, so happy & relieved when you have enough extra copies to go one with your day. Or when you have a “Back to School – Welcome” packet printed and ready to go for your new student in February.
Making extra copies of everything (seriously, everything) may mean you use less paper overall. (This is usually a hidden bonus of the system!) I suggest filing the things you may need all year “finger-tip handy”.
As far as the extra copies that are truly just “extras” hanging around at the end of the week, there are a few options. You can file them for next year. Offer them to an ESE teacher or teacher of a grade higher or lower who may have a student they need to differentiate for (this often works out great at my school). Or you can put them in a “play teacher” box for students to use. They LOVE this. You will be shocked at how much they enjoy taking home extra work to “play school” with their brothers & sisters (and they are practicing class skills – win/win!)
Connections and Copies. Seriously.
Decide that your sanity and happiness are worth it.
Don’t get sucked right into worrying about standards and mandates. In the beginning, close your door and make the connections that matter. I give you permission.
And make extra copies. Don’t forget the copies!
Now, for the good stuff! My friends and I have a few more Back to School tips and a $100 TPT gift card for you to win!!
Next you are heading over to my friend Ashley’s blog Teaching Where You’re Called to learn about one way you can keep your sanity all school year long!
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