Thinking of the new school year doesn’t have to be overwhelming and stressful. Follow these painless strategies to feel prepared and relaxed as you think about the new school year.
With a little planning, you can be ready for the new school year while still enjoying your summer break.
Here are 7 No Stress Back to School Ready ideas for summer break (Check for a FREEBIE or two scattered throughout this post!):
Since the start of COVID-19, teaching hasn’t been the same.
If you’re like me, you have a pretty good idea about what went right and what went wrong in your classroom last year.
I’m thinking of lesson planning, learning management systems, behavior management, assignments and homework policy, discipline policy, and all the other stuff that make our heads feel like exploding.
If you feel you have a couple of areas to strengthen (and who doesn’t with so many changes?), summer is a great opportunity to explore new options.
Don’t overwhelm yourself. Choose just one or two areas you want to make true changes, and then research ideas and strategies. No pressure.
The research I’m referring to here means blog articles written by other teachers in the trenches.
Here are the simple steps:
- Get comfy on your front porch, back patio, or in air conditioning
- Search the internet for credible teaching websites and blogs to read
- Find ideas on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook
- Grab a cold drink
If you need a starting point, I’d love for you to follow me on Pinterest! Click the image below to visit.
Here are a couple of quick, simple Glows & Grows Self-Reflection pages to help you organize your thoughts. Additionally, there’s space for you to list your strong areas, and spots for you to jot down ideas and areas to improve.
This reflection page is simple and easy but will help you clarify your thinking.
2) Explore Engaging Teacher Websites and Blogs
There are websites and blog posts about whatever you teach where you’ll discover high-quality lessons that will inspire you. Additionally, you can use Pinterest to find blogs and teaching websites geared toward the topics and grades you need.
Teachers are talented, generous, and helpful in sharing ideas, tips, and strategies. There seem to be articles covering every topic, subject, state standard, problem, worry, and concern.
I love the sense of community, and it feels so good to learn that other teachers share many of the same feelings, concerns, worries, and issues as myself.
One warning: If you come across a blog that causes you to feel inadequate or negative emotions, LEAVE that site! No one’s classroom is perfect, even if their social media images make it seem that way.
No class setup is that perfect all the time!
Instead, look for websites and blogs that INSPIRE you and make you feel capable, optimistic, and excited!
Once you connect with some websites and blogs you like, sign up for their free emails to stay in touch. Plus, many bloggers and teacher-authors offer BONUS freebies to their followers! Receiving their emails feels like hearing from trusted friends.
Grab the “No Stress” Back to School Checklist –
FREE when you sign up for emails!
About the checklist ~
The checklist is updated with ideas for starting the school year.
You’ll find an editable version since there are so many variables with schools and precautions. You can customize the lists.
I really hope this No Stress Back to School Checklist makes your back-to-school planning a bit easier.
3) Start Making Tentative Plans
This might be the hardest one. But you can at least be warming up your brain and settling on a starting point for the more in-depth lesson planning – whether it’s online, in-person, or a mix of both.
The first few days of school (online or in-person) will be filled with rules and procedures, which can become really boring for students. But, for a few bucks, you can buy some digital and print-and-go procedures and rule options so you can check that box off your To-Do-List.
TpT is full of fresh, no-stress ideas and is a great place to find motivation and inspiration. Like Pinterest, TPT can help you generate lesson ideas and options, even if you don’t purchase.
To save appealing resources and ideas for later, click the Wishlist button, put them in your cart to save, or pin TPT resources to your Pinterest boards.
I suggest starting a Pinterest board called “Back to School,” where you can pin all the wonderful ideas you discover.
For even more ideas, pop on over to Pinterest and type “Back to School” in the search bar. You can then narrow down your search to more specific ideas by adding “for math teachers,” “for third grade,” “for new teachers,” etc. Start pinning! You’ll soon have a pretty good collection of ideas to sort through for years to come.
For example, if you’re drawn to Back to School flip-books, you should start narrowing down your choices. Then visit Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) to check out digital and/or printable versions.
Just deciding on some basic planning decisions opens the door to more in-depth planning involving curriculum.
4) Plan New School Year Classroom Décor
While you’re on Pinterest gathering incredible lesson ideas, you’re sure to find some inspiring classroom décor. For example, now there are digital “classrooms” that look like cartoonish classrooms with stickers and emojis. I’m sure you’ve seen them around.
Make a Pinterest board called Classroom Décor or Online Décor and pin away! Start simple – avoid overwhelm.
Here’s my Classroom Décor Board if you need a starting point.
Click the “Follow” button while you’re there!
What do you want on your bulletin boards? Will they stay the same as last year? Planning to change themes or colors? Do you need some new posters? Anchor charts?
Plan now, and you’ll have plenty of time to gather whatever you need.
You can turn regular anchor charts into online anchor charts through photos or convert PDF versions to digital – CLICK HERE to learn how.
Order posters, borders, etc., now so that you’ll have everything on hand when the time comes.
If you choose to purchase from Teachers Pay Teachers, add the resources to your Wishlist or Pin them so that you’ll remember what you liked when it’s time to buy!
Here are a few teacher favorites:
5) Rest and Recharge!
Some days you just need to turn off your teacher-brain. And that’s PERFECTLY NORMAL and PERFECTLY HEALTHY!
This is your time to recharge, and we all recharge in different ways.
Some people feel perfectly calm and relaxed as they look for new school year inspiration in books and websites about education. But, on the other hand, some teachers feel that Pinterest induces anxiety – who are those PERFECT teachers with the PERFECT rooms – SERIOUSLY?
Toss in some Netflix or other services! Is anyone besides me binging? My faves are The Office (on Peacock now, but I bought the series on Vudu), Schitt’s Creek, and Grey’s Anatomy.
And if the thought of school planning gives you that “Sunday-Night-Blues” feeling, that’s ok, too. You’re just not ready yet.
Whatever your style is – RESPECT IT and OWN IT.
You’ll gradually get there.
You owe yourself time to recharge, and it’s very, very well deserved. Give yourself permission without pressure and guilt. What advice would you give to your best friend? Give that advice to yourself and take it.
In these uncertain times, I understand this gem about life more than ever:
School will always be there.
This time of your life will only last a very, very short time.
Take advantage and SAVOR IT! Spend time with your loved ones – including pets that relieve stress.
When school starts again, you’ll realize that you had a Summer to Remember forever!
In Closing ~
I certainly wish you all the best.
We’re in this together and on the same team. Virtual high five!
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