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…]