It could go without being said that being a teacher has been incredibly challenging as of late, but I’m still going to say it. Teaching has been HARD. We have lost so much and it will take time to recoup. How can we ease back into school when things aren’t business as usual? Let’s explore some resources for teachers, tutors and homeschool instructors to reflect, plan and set goals this fall.
Teachers want to start the year off right
Whether or not your district has returned to school yet, teachers have been swimming in meetings, planning and mitigation strategies. Not only last year’s buzzwords, we are all still “pivoting” and embracing a “new normal” in our buildings. If you were a first year teacher last year, we feel for you. What would be your sophomore year has essentially become your first year all over again. How can you find peace and organize yourself in a new setting? Three main concepts come to mind for all teachers, new and seasoned, to ease back into school: Reflect, Plan and Set Goals.
The new self- care for teachers: Reflection
Last year was all about self- care, but if we’re being honest, who really had the time for it? Maybe your self- care was finally that moment when you closed your computer or when your Instacart delivery arrived and it meant that task was off your plate. This year, we want to simultaneously think ahead and look back so that we can peacefully ease back into school. We have created a Weekly Reflection Journal for you. Do it at your own pace, one question at a time or more, whatever works for you! Maybe you could introduce it to your department meetings. Personally, I am adding a question to my weekly planner and plugging it in randomly. Week 1 will be: If I had to pick a word or a phrase for this week, what would it be? This can set the tone for the week and when things get off track, circle back and reflect on what you chose to begin the week. Is that word or phrase still working as you ease back into school? Why or why not?
All the planning!
Teachers need time to plan. We all know that there is never enough time to plan for everything between your classes, duties, meetings and all the unexpectedness. Depending on your grade level, content area and school system, your daily and weekly plans are going to vary. I find that having planning done in layers keeps me on track and helps me triage what I need to accomplish. To help you get started, we created a Weekly Planner for you. Use it to plug in the extras that support your main content area and frame it around your daily scheduled classes and meetings. I like to use mine to make notes on which days I want to visit certain websites and blogs for tips, resources and articles to share with my students and colleagues or line up special projects for my space at school. We also added a space for you to pop in some weekend plans (hopefully not work!) and a spot to make general to-do lists. Making lists, feeling organized and creating a strong framework will guide you as you ease back into school.
Set goals: big, small and everything in between
The most important thing about goal setting it to remember to lay out plans that attainable, measurable and specific. You can always adjust, PIVOT and re-evaluate as needed, but lay the groundwork first. We created a monthly goal setting guide for you to follow. Consider what you want to achieve in a month’s time and think about how you will accomplish this goal? What supports or resources might you need to get you to the finish line? At the end of the month, ask yourself if you were able to accomplish your goal and, if yes, what drove you to complete it? If you weren’t able to check that goal off your list, what can you do to make it achievable the following month? Your goals should be authentic to you and be a variety of easy as well as goals that push you. Maybe you can even tag in your work bestie to work with you, cheer you on, or arrange for a reward at the finish line! Whatever you do, you do your best to ease back into school in the best way for YOU.