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 just a little bit of planning and forethought, you can be ready for the new school year while still enjoying your summer break. Yes, it’s true! No stress – No pain!
Here are 7 No Stress Back to School Ready ideas for summer break (FREEBIES are scattered throughout this post!):
Since the start of COVID-19, school hasn’t been the same. If you’re like me, you have a pretty good idea about what went right and what went wrong last year. Your GLOWS and your GROWS.
I’m NOT talking about the general chaos of COVID-19 or test scores here. I’m thinking of the actual learning – online and face-to-face lessons, learning management systems, classroom and behavior management, assignment and homework policy, discipline policy, etc.
If, after fair and honest reflection, you feel that you have a couple of areas to strengthen (and who doesn’t with so many changes??), summer is a great opportunity to explore some new options. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Choose just one or two areas that you want to make some true changes and research ideas and strategies – no pressure!
Research, in this case, means using blog articles written by other teachers in the trenches, experts in their fields, Pinterest for ideas, and internet searches that you can do on your front porch, back patio, or in air conditioning. Grab a cold drink and get comfy!
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. There’s space for you to list areas in which you feel satisfied and proud and spots for you to jot down ideas about areas to improve.
This reflection page is simple and easy but will help you clarify your thinking.
2) Explore Engaging Teacher Websites and Blogs.
Whatever you teach or whatever educational area excites you – there are websites and blog posts about it! You can use Pinterest to find blogs and teaching websites geared towards the topics and grades that you need.
Teachers are so talented and so generous and helpful with ideas, tips, and strategies. It seems that almost every topic, subject area, state standard, problem, worry, and concern has been written about. I love the sense of community and it feels SO, SO good to learn that other teachers share many of the same feelings, concerns, worries, and issues as yourself.
One warning: If you come across a blog that causes you to feel inadequate and insecure – LEAVE IT!
Life is too short, and I’m sure THAT teacher’s classroom and life aren’t as completely perfect as that person makes it appear in a static photo. 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 blogs that you like, sign up for their email lists – many bloggers and teacher-authors offer freebies to subscribers! Receiving their emails begin to feel like you’re hearing from trusted friends.
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. 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 some lesson ideas and options, even if you don’t make any purchases.
To save appealing resources and ideas for later, click the Wishlist button, put them in your cart to save, or simply 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 that 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” or “for third grade” or “for new teachers,” etc. Start pinning! You’ll soon have a pretty good collection of ideas to sort through for years to come.
If you’re drawn to Back to School flip-books, then you should narrow it down and visit Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) to check out digital and printable versions. If you’re a new teacher (and even if you’re not!), check out this Back to School Bundle of Teaching Essentials.
Just deciding on some basic planning decisions opens the door to more in-depth planning involving curriculum.
Grab this FREE icebreaker by clicking the image below:
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. Now there are digital “classrooms” that look like cartoonish classrooms and teachers use memojis. 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 – and 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 by converting 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. Some teachers feel that Pinterest induces anxiety – ((Are those PERFECT teachers with the PERFECT rooms even HUMAN??))
Toss in some Netflix – anyone besides me Netflix binging? My current faves are The Office for the 5,000th time (it never gets old!), Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, and Blacklist.
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.
Really, you have no choice. 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!
No Stress Back to School Checklist – FREEBIE!
Here’s the deal with the checklist:
I did my best to update the checklist with ideas for starting this school year with COVID-19 in full swing. The fact is, there are so many ways each school district or building could be opening, that I couldn’t possibly include everything that you’ll need. You’ll find an editable version so you can add more to the lists.
At the very least, I hope this No Stress Back to School Checklist makes your back-to-school planning a bit easier.
I certainly wish you all the best. We’re in this together and on the same team.