Well, folks, it’s that time again. August. Professional development in Arkansas starts back in less than a week, and students will be back in the classroom in less than two weeks.
I truly try to let myself have June & July completely off from school, but once August hits, I consider it to be back to school. Over the years, I’ve developed a few tips & tricks to slowly settle back into those rhythms of the school year.
Start setting your alarm clock.
If you’re the mom to young children, you probably can skip this step. Ha! If you’re not, however, you may have been dreamily sleeping in for the past two months. For me, once August hits, the alarm gets plugged back in. Each morning, I set it to blare earlier in 15 minute increments per day. That way, I am not jarring myself with a two-hour earlier wake-up time for the first day back to work.
Rethink your routines.
I honestly love routines and look forward to getting back on a schedule for the new school year. For teachers, August can almost be like New Years, a time when we can set new goals & intentions. (Just make sure to have plenty of grace for yourself; we all know August is killer.) I like to think about what routines worked or didn’t work in the former school year and set up new schedules, based on that. For example, did you have good intentions to work out after school three times a week, but then always find yourself too flustered from the day to make it there? Try working out in the mornings. Did you envision yourself creating a calming atmosphere in your classroom each day, only to find yourself rushing in at the last minute? What can you do to change that? (Be looking for tips from me on a future blog post!) I like to physically write my new routines down and start trying to implement them before the year gains full momentum.
Track your time.
Since I go back to work technically before teachers are ‘on the clock,’ I find I have trouble holding myself accountable for my time. Thus, I make myself track my time. It’s an idea I got from the helpful book, “168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think” by Laura Vanderkam. This tool especially helps me with my social media consumption. If I spend an hour on social media, I know I will have to track it. Then, at the end of the day, if my to-do list is still overwhelming, I can clearly see where time was wasted. Honestly, just knowing the threat of tracking wasted time is enough to get my butt into gear, and I will get off social media a lot more quickly than I might have. (I actually use this tool off and on throughout the summer when I feel like I am wasting these precious days away!)
Save yourself one last day.
I always save the very last weekday of the summer as a special summer day. I do all of my favorite things that I cannot normally do during the school year: read my book and sip coffee slowly, get brunch with a friend, and head to the pool with my kids in the afternoon. We also have a tradition of eating ice cream for dinner the night before school starts. I try to accomplish enough before this day, so that I can truly feel at ease and soak up those last summer moments. It feels like a luxury to my Type-A self, and it is something I highly recommend to all teachers.