I know you can feel it because I can feel it too.
The countdown to Term 1 is on and that chilled out vibe you've been rocking all summer is slowly starting to slip away.
Suddenly it feels like there's a mountain of stuff to do and too little time to do it. In the past, I've been well acquainted with those pesky back-to-school nerves and I know how overwhelming it can feel.
Not any more though!
These days life looks a whole lot different and I'm here to share my best tips and tricks to help you set yourself up for success this school year.
1. Lead with FEELING not THOUGHT
As teachers, we are super logical people. We can envision possible scenarios other mere mortals would never see coming. We take hundreds of students on excursions every year for Pete's sake! We need to be this way. Whilst this way of thinking may come in handy when we're on duty or running a science experiment, it's not always supportive for our wellbeing.
This year, instead of considering the logistics of when you should be returning to school, what needs to be done and how quickly it needs doing- first, consider how you want this year to FEEL. Do you want to feel calm and clear? Do you want move through your day with joy and fun? Are you wanting to cultivate a sense of gratitude and ease? Decide which emotion you want to embody and then choose actions that will help you to generate this feeling.
For example, if you want to bring about a sense of fun- rushing around to set up your classroom isn't going to allow you to feel that way. Begin by asking yourself- how can I make this process fun? What actions can I take to make this a blast? Then begin from there. It may seem counter productive but trust me, it's a game changer!
2. The fluff can wait
I'm sure you know what I'm talking about when I say 'fluff'. All the extra stuff. The pretty door signs, elaborate displays and knick knacks that take tonnes of time to prepare but are never acknowledged or celebrated. Don't get me wrong, I love a good TPT deal as much as the next person but this is where I see teachers create the most stress for themselves. My advice is to prioritise what is urgent and leave the rest until last. If you're not sure which tasks on your list are urgent, ask yourself 'If this was not ready for the first week of school, would it be an issue?' If not, it's not urgent.
A little side note here, aim to create displays that stand the test of time. Specifically, ones that are reusable and will make it easy for you in the long run. For example, laminated speech bubbles can be wiped off super easily and students can write quotes/questions/goals/learnings on them all year long. Consider ways that you can set yourself up for future ease and success.
3. Beware the Instagram comparison trap
I'm going to take a wild guess and assume that a big part of the reason you're feeling so stressed right now is because of a little app called Instagram. You've logged on, had a quick scroll through those teaching accounts that usually inspire you and realised with horror that they've already starting creating and prepping for the year. Cue the inner freak out!
Let me put it to you this way. If a child in your class was upset because they didn't think their drawing was a good as another students, you wouldn't suggest that they continue to look at the other child's picture until they felt ultimately worse. You wouldn't think to compare the two works of art, would most probably praise the upset student for their efforts and encourage them to keep practicing. That's exactly what you need to do in this situation! Continuing to keep tabs on the progress of other teachers isn't going to feel good and it sure as heck isn't going to support you in bringing about that feeling that you chose earlier. Simply click those three dots above their most recent picture, hit the unfollow button and focus on remaining in your lane. Later on when you're feeling on top of things and confident in yourself, it's just a matter of going back and re-following. Easy!
If you're a stressed out teacher and would love to set yourself up for success in 2019, I would love to support you. As a coach, I work with teachers who are ready to ditch the burn out and prioritise themselves again. You can find more about what I do here.
With love and gratitude,