Teacher Tip #4: Being Prepared for the First Day of School: Avoiding the “September Meltdown Mentality”
The above was only a small portion of my yearly “beginning of the school year to-do list” that I created as I prepared for another round of students. It certainly was stressful! Every year, I wondered how I would get everything done while pulling my hair out in the process and eventually finishing all of the bullets on my list. Yes, I had worried too much. Every year I went through the same vicious cycle of stress- like a hamster in a wheel- like Atlas and his globe. I was the poster child for the frazzled teacher. While I am now on the other side of the classroom as a coach and educational strategist, I want to help all teachers avoid what I call the “September Meltdown Mentality.” But, how does a teacher stay sane at the beginning of the school year with so much to do and little time to do it?
While summer is glorious and well needed for any teacher, in my experience, planning ahead and taking time during the summer to prepare for the next batch of incoming students is the best way to decrease stress levels. It is important to note that most other professions get 2-3 weeks off a year, so taking an extra week of an 8-10 week summer to work isn’t a loss-it’s an investment in stress management. Like students, teachers have their own organizational and planning styles which can be effective or ineffective. One strategy a teacher can use is to do as much planning as they can at the beginning of the summer before they go into summer relaxation mode. Instead of closing down the room (unless a teacher has to due to a move or maintenance) a teacher can set up their seating arrangement for the following year or rewrite/tweak the past year’s first day of school lessons. If a teacher is really organized and has great materials, they can print everything on the dreaded school copy machine before it breaks over the summer or is bombarded by other teachers at the beginning of the next year.
It can be hard for teachers going into the summer to be motivated to plan ahead-especially if they have had a difficult school year, however, planning ahead saves worry and stress when coming back to school. In addition, a teacher can actually enjoy their summer without having to think about the tasks they need to do. This also leads to adopting a positive mentality when approaching a new school year with joy and a feeling of refreshment as opposed to dread.
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I am an education coach and consultant as well as an executive functioning coach for children struggling with ADD/ADHD. You can also check out this blog at aquinaseducationcoaching.wordpress.com and