Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like someone else may need this blog about ideas for making a less stressful school year.
Here are my Tip – from 1 passionate teacher to another
1. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
And by small stuff I mean the specific expectations. The specific expectations are your field lines. The overall are the end zone. (Football reference really?!?).
2. Don’t drown on your own teaching island – ask for help.
I have spent too many years teaching in isolation. Life is better together. Seriously, I mean it. Planning together, laughing together, just simply being together will make a far less stressful school year.
3. Technology is your friend.
Even if your kids don’t all have tech, create a program where you can print AND use digitally. This will allow you to send your lessons to your students, have pre-made ready to go lessons you don’t need to plan the night before, etc. More about that here. 🙂
4. Let them use calculators!
Okay so this one may not be popular opinion but I believe that when used right, calculators are the bomb. Our teachers told us we wouldn’t be walking around with calculators in our pockets, so we just had to learn long division. So very wrong. I use my phone calculator for everything and I can do long division backwards in my sleep (that’s how drilled in it was). But why would I? We teach our students to be more efficient. Skills like basic adding and multiplication facts are critical to all other types of math. When they become automatic (what’s 2 + 2…4, no thinking, it’s just there), then this is quicker than a calculator. But if it is going to take me getting some scrap paper and a good 3 minutes, I’ll take the calculator thank you very much. That’s 3.5 minutes that I could be doing something much more productive …. Like scrolling Facebook, which for the most helps me to have a less stressful school year (more about that later).
5. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
I know I already said this one. But this time I mean the small stuff like all of the unknowns, decisions admin made without consulting staff and other silly trials of the day. My motto this year: just keep smiling (with a big goofy grin and two thumbs up). This can be said over and over, like Dory does in Finding Nemo. This one is tricky but if we keep positive, things will look better. If this fails, go back to #2. Ask for help and don’t forget a great vent session with your colleagues. After all, we can’t always be positive.
6. Let your kiddos decorate for you.
If you are anything like me, I didn’t go overboard with my room last year with so many student and classroom changes, it didn’t seem worth it. Instead I got my kiddos involved and we all LOVED it. My suggestion; give them whatever materials they will need and let them go to town. They can make borders, posters, whatever the classroom needs. Hey, this could even make a great STEM activity. Kids work in groups to make borders for different bulletin boards around the room. Kids own the room and you have less to do. WIN WIN!
7. Join a Facebook group for your grade level and follow pages that are similar to your grade level and style (like mine??).
Maybe you are teaching a 5/6/7 split 😮. Or maybe you are teaching in a very remote location, where you literally are teaching on your own island. Do you know how many times I have my day planned, something pops up on my Facebook notifications that is awesome, and I completely change my day? So many wonderful ideas and freebies.
8. Don’t spend too much time on Facebook.
Yes I am aware that my last tip was to join Facebook, it is just that too much of that mindless scrolling can be a timewaster.
9. Read (or whatever else it is that makes you happy).
I know that you have a TON of other things to do. But taking time to make yourself happy, will make you more productive in the long run. That’s what “they” say anyway. Whoever they are. I personally like to read young adult books that I can talk to my students about. What makes you happy during the school year?
10. Remember that you are awesome.
While not spending too much time on Facebook, try to remember that everyone is on their own path and that beautiful classroom that looks like it was decorated by professionals is not for everyone. If that teacher likes it, then good for them. I personally like the decorated by an 11 year old look. Just like our kiddos, we are all unique. Don’t compare yourself with anyone but yourself.
BONUS TIP for a less stressful school year
Check out my TpT store for links to freebies that could be helpful in preparing you for another busy year (that now is going to be a lot less stressful). Sign up for my e-mail list for a free classroom responsibilities resource that will save you time as well. 🙂