way) that can make going to back to school less stressful.
level) is making sure everyone is on the same page. It is important to get going with the communication
early on so that it doesn’t blow up into a huge problem later on. If you are fighting trying to get forms in or
homework signed all year, you will never feel caught up. I teach secondary English,
and parents seem to never know when a project is due or when a report card
comes out, and teenagers like to keep it that way. However, I’ve found that my
students can’t resist social media and their electronic devices. I use two FREE and easy tools to get the word
out and pressure off me. Remind is a
texting ap/website that sends text messages to anyone signed up for your
list. I like it because it doesn’t use
my cell phone number, I can schedule the messages for right after school, and
parents and students can sign up. One thing
I found that works for me with different periods and assignments due, etc. is
to set up different classes. Then I can do one big blast or just pick certain
classes. Students have to sign up using a code the website generates, and parents see the code on the syllabus I sent home. I use Remind every week, and the kids love it! The second tool I use is
dialmycalls.com. With this I do have to
use the school number, but it is online based. You get 25 free messages per week. I use the
text-to-speech feature for failure notices each month. Both of these methods are easily documented,
and takes the pressure off me to do all the “remembering.” And an added bonus:
My principal loves it!
|Organize Contacts with Index Cards & Other Management Ideas|
#2) Go Home On Time
(or as close to on-time as possible)
day. And teachers are notorious for doing this. We work and work and lose track
of time. Then we work when we get home and on weekends. I am very guilty of this myself. I feel like I can’t get it all done or am not being a good teacher if I don’t. But by
Christmas I have worn myself out so much that I am either in the hospital or
sick on the couch all break – true story.
Our last bell rings at 3:00pm. I
have been working on this the past few years. If I stay late, it is only one (or maybe two)
days a week. What’s helped me improve is having a system and staying organized.
|My New Planner System – For My 3 Preps!|
For example, at the beginning of my plan period, I run all my errands –
copies, paperwork, bathroom, etc. Then I come back to my room and check my
email. After that I grade any papers or
create any worksheets, lessons, etc. If
I work through this system and don’t backtrack or get distracted, I can usually
get things done. (We’re pretending here
no one knocks on my doors, calls me on the intercom, wants a meeting, or stops
me in the hall.) Nonetheless, having the system works for the most part and helps
me feel accomplished. I also plan out which days I work on things such as on
Thursday I plan for next week so Friday I can turn in my lesson plans. On
Friday, I do a quick swipe through my room to clean and put things away. Maybe even typing up a little schedule or having
a desktop checklist would work. I’ve got
a pool at home calling my name, so I’m definitely going to make leaving on time
one of my goals this year!
#3) Build in Breaks for Yourself
activity that takes the pressure off of me, but still keeps the students
engaged in a purposeful and meaningful way.
For example, all week long I am lecturing on skills, monitoring
assessments, engaging discussions, facilitating small groups, and being full-on
up and going for 90 minutes straight. The
kids are working, too, but I am doing a lot as well. Typically, on Fridays I plan a sneaky little
breather for myself. Maybe the kids do a
hands-on activity to reinforce what we did that week, and I just mingle and
offer encouragement. Maybe the kids take
a quiz or spend the period doing a quick writing assignment. One of my favorite things to do each week on Friday
is my weekly reflection. It takes about 30
minutes, but it is the best 30 minutes! The kids are working, thinking, and
talking while I am just sitting back listening, learning, and loving it! Find it in my back to school survival kit!
know. The more you know someone the better the relationship is and the time you
spend together is better. Now, right off the bat let me say that I don’t get to
know my juniors and seniors too much, nor do I tell them every detail of my
private life. With that said, what I mean is it works to have a healthy
relationship. I believe it is important
to do some getting-to-know you activities at the beginning of the year, but not
the kind that you forget and throw away after a few weeks. And certainly not
ones that are just busy work. I only have so much time with my students to get everything
covered, so every minute counts. Also, I
used to be hesitant to say anything about myself at all, but I’ve come to realize
that it does help to do some honest sharing with students. Otherwise, all they
ever know about you is what you wear each day and everything else that they make up
to be true. For me as an English
teacher, it is easy to fall back on a quick writing assignment. I can share my own response to the writing
so they learn about me; I have a quick diagnostic sample; and I learn about my
students all in a few days. One of my favorites is a short writing assignment, and the other I use is a presentation.
students. Overtime that starts to affect
your health and emotions. Decide what
routines you need in your class to make each period run smoothly, start them from day
one, and practice them with students.
Each day, my students come into the room and do a few things BEFORE the bell
the door. They get out what they need and leave the bulk behind.
they need to pick up for the day.
|See More Management Ideas in my eBook|
-Get started on the daily oral languageI love that they have so much responsibility before
the tardy bell rings because it frees me up to greet them, eat a snack, and get
anything else ready. It also allows us
to waste zero time at the beginning of the period. Some other routines I swear by are turning in
papers into one place every time, labeling papers a certain way, and moving in
and out of groups quickly and quietly.