You are on the downward slope of summer and each day you are thinking more and more of the school year ahead. You see school supplies in stores. You are starting to surf Pinterest again for classroom ideas. And you may also be feeling a mix of emotions: excitement, hope, dread, resentment, fear, and insecurity to name a few. You are not alone!! Here are some of the tips I give my teacher clients…[Read more…]
There is only one thing that can absolutely stop negativity, stress, overwhelm, insecurity, fear and disconnection dead in their tracks – gratitude. Gratitude is one of the most powerful mindset choices we can make in our day-to-day lives.
That’s why cultivating a grateful heart as a teacher is one of the foundational habits of wholehearted teaching. [Read more…]
I am notorious for creating brilliant ideas that I want to do in class tomorrow. Not a great strategy unless money and sleep-deprivation are no object. I remember a time while preparing for a lesson on ‘questioning’, I wanted to make laminated cards on rings that were color coded and had leveled question-starter-stems on them.
Of course, our laminating machine at school was broken (as was the case frequently), and I wanted to use the cards for a lesson the following day. I had put time and effort into creating the cards and my options were, (a) let the students use them without laminating (i.e. they would get ruined and I would have to redo them once the laminator was back up) or (b) take them to Kinkos to be laminated.
Now for any teacher who has never paid her own money to get things laminated at Kinkos, you will have no idea just how excited I was to get these cards done. I was dead set on it – despite it costing me $98.34. Yup. That happened. I remember as soon as he told me the cost, my stomach sank. But I really wanted those pretty, laminated, fancy cards – and wouldn’t it make my students realized how much I loved them and cared about their education?!
Maybe – but it still hurt financially for the entire rest of the month! And PS – we used those dang cards so much the kids knew all the questions by heart (not a bad side-effect).
But with a little pre-planning, I could have saved myself a lot of money, that sinking feeling, a late night in Kinkos, and a lot of stress. Okay – so titling this post “how to plan ahead for a stress-free school year” is a little misleading – I admit it. We all know that no school year is absolutely stress-FREE no matter how much planning ahead you do. But it can be less stressful and you can do more of the things that you want to do for your students with a little planning ahead.
Let me explain. [Read more…]
I’m a self-proclaimed organization ‘geek’. Nothing makes me more happy than school supplies on sale this time of year. In fact, when I was little, I would save up my money to go to the office supply store and buy folders, pens, and sticky-notes. I know…I was a teacher in the making for sure!
But the good news about all that is that creating organization systems is something that comes relatively easy for me. And since I get some (geeky) satisfaction out of labeling and organizing, my systems are always being examined and retooled (or….that may just be a justification for buying more office supplies…)
As we get ready to go back to school, I wanted to share some of my tips (those systems that have been tooled, retooled, examined, and reexamined throughout my life). These are my tips for getting organized for going back to school:
It’s that time of year – or will be soon – for newly purchased notebooks, sharpened pencils all accounted for, the thin lines of new whiteboard markers, washed desks awaiting handprints and chairs awaiting new friends. The time of year that is crisp with newness. The time of year that is so promising and idealic. The time of year when students return to your classroom – bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with chlorine and sun streaked through their hair, and smiles on their faces as they see their friends and teachers again.
Teachers all over the country are beginning to think about going back to school. And even if you aren’t going back for a while, the summer unwind has taken place, you are recharged, and you are now able to start thinking about what you want to do differently next school year.
You may have gone to a fantastic professional development session this summer, participated in some amazing twitter chats from your professional learning network, gone to a conference, or visited a teacher friend from across the country. All giving you new ideas and things to try for next year.
How do you sort through all you want to do this year? How do you set, maintain, and sustain your goals for going back to school?
Have you already begun your countdown? There are just a few weeks left of this school year. Will you end this year frazzled, tired, and completely dazed? Or will you end the year happy, purposeful, and peaceful? Here are some time-saving end of the year teacher hacks to ending the year with my joy, peace, and purpose. [Read more…]
As teachers, we create the climate in our classrooms. If we are negative, our students will react. If we are positive, our students will react. Students react to the energy we bring and the climate we set. Through our actions as their teacher – the leader of the classroom, we set the tone for learning, encouragement, and mutual respect…or something else.
The day to day pattern of the climate we set becomes the culture of our classroom. We know that the classroom culture can help kids thrive, or tear them down. There is tremendous power in this – and tremendous responsibility. [Read more…]
You know that little (loud) voice in your head that tells you that your ideas are bad, that you aren’t good enough, that you’re not beautiful enough, that you don’t have enough… I not-so-fondly refer to that voice as my gremlin. That gremlin is only out to steal our joy, kill our dreams, and make us play small. Here’s how to say “take a hike” to that vicious, destructive gremlin:
Hobbies seem to be elusive as a teacher. We even joke about our hobby being teaching! So I’m going to answer this question: Can teachers really have hobbies?
While it may be true that having hobbies as a teacher is more difficult than for people with 9-5 jobs, I do believe it is possible to have hobbies as a teacher. Furthermore, I think it’s SUPER important that as teachers we express ourselves through hobbies.
Ahh Fridays! We wait for them all week, and get so anxious to leave school and focus on the weekend, that sometimes we leave and admittedly just say, “Whatever, I’ll do it Monday!” But here are ten things you can do before leaving your classroom on Friday (don’t worry – they don’t take much time) to set yourself up for success on Monday. [Read more…]