With back to school time here and in full force, it is easy to get caught up in the overwhelming stress and mile long to-do lists we are met with each year. These 5 practical tips for a less stressful back to school season will help you make back to school time enjoyable for yourself and your students. After all, a less stressed teacher is the best kind of teacher right? Here’s to a less stressful back to school season!
Tip 1: Don’t Reinvent The Wheel
Feeling underprepared at the beginning of a new school year can be daunting and stressful for teachers. Save time and energy using a resource that is already available to you.
Whether it is classroom decor or first week of school activities, look for something that will save you time. Then, take that extra time and put it towards something to get you ahead. Or you can even take a much needed break and time for yourself!
When it comes to classroom decor, think simple. Get something that is ready to print and go. I love this Eric Carle inspired classroom decor bundle, it is packed with everything you need for your classroom and ready to go with minimal effort from you! Just print what you need.
You can find more ready to print classroom decor in the Teaching in Blue Jeans store. With a variety of themes you can find just the right ready to use decor set for your classroom.
First Week Activities
Planning for the first week of school should be a smooth transition into the new year for you and students. Take time in the first week to teach about your classroom rules, procedures and expectations, review where students are academically, and get to know each other. Plan out your first week of school activities, ice breaker games and have rules ready to go so that you set the tone and are prepared to have a fabulous school year! And remember . . . if you don’t jump right into academics that is okay! You’ve got the entire year ahead of you.
One of my favorite activities for the first week of school is a get to know you activity that digs a little deeper than most ice breakers. The “My New Friends” class book is a great way for students to get to know each other in a one-on-one setting and create a keepsake at the same time. I also love using editable hidden picture activities as a fun and engaging review. Not only does this ease students back into the classroom but it also gives me a chance to see where they are.
Tip 2: Take a Social Media Break
. . . and yes that means Pinterest too! While there are so many great things about social media, it can also be the cause of more stress as we see what others are doing, new ideas, and “all the things we NEED” to be a good teacher. My friend, you are a great teacher! Trust your teacher instincts and do what you know is best for your students and yourself.
Avoid the trap of comparison that is so often a consequence of social media. Just take a little social media vacation and go back once the school year is underway. This will help you clear your mind and make time to focus on getting yourself and your classroom prepped and ready for the year ahead!
Tip 3: Ask For Help
I don’t know about you but this is a hard one for me. Really hard! But asking for help can come in a lot of forms.
If the thought of cutting one more thing out of lamination makes your head spin – ask for help.
When summer seems too short and you feel like you just can’t recharge enough before the year begins, ask for help.
If you need supplies, furniture, books, or other classroom resources share the need with family and friends. I have had many classroom donations just by making the need known.
And . . . if you have something for your classroom that I can help with, please ask. What I love most about running Teaching in Blue Jeans is being able to help other teachers. If you have a need, just ask . . and I just might be able to help!
Asking for help is crucial to beat back to school burnout. Plan a Prep Night Party! Invite a few friends, grab the work that needs to be done, add some snacks and turn the dreaded tasks into a prep party for your classroom. This could be non-teacher friends that help you, or a group of teachers that just need some social fun while working on classroom prep.
Trust me, once it is all said and done you will be so glad you asked for the help!
Tip 4: Have a Plan
This is probably one of the best tips that will make those first days a lot more fun and have a lot less stress . . . have a plan set in place. Taking the guesswork out of that first week of school will take your stress level down a notch for sure. Don’t put off those first week plans until after the room is ready or Meet the Teacher is over. Instead prioritize the first week and get those plans done early.
Print out all activities and have copies ready to go for each day of the first week. The last thing you want to do is spend your first week of school parked in front of the copy machine.
Make sure you gather your supplies. Having everything you need for the first few weeks organized and in their place will help you immensely. A tidy, organized, and well-stocked classroom will not only take the stress off you but students as well. Set your plan now, and watch how much it pays off during that hectic back-to-school time.
Tip 5: Make Time for Yourself
When it is all said and done, don’t forget to take care of yourself. The first few weeks of school are hectic and draining, these tips for a less stressful back-to-school season should help you a ton…but you still need to take time for just yourself.
There’s no right or wrong thing you can do. Just choose something that will leave you feeling rested, rejuvenated and happy. Here’s some of my favorite self-care activities that are easy to do:
- Get a massage
- Get a manicure or pedicure
- Schedule coffee with a friend
- Go on a long weekend getaway
- Plan a special outing with the family
- Binge watch a show you love in your pajamas
- Splurge a little and hire someone to do house cleaning, grocery shopping or both
- Do something creative
Plan it now and put it on your schedule. Whether you do it before the school year even starts, or once you’ve survived the first few weeks, a time out is a must!
Beat Back to School Stress
I hope you love and use these tips to get you through the beginning of the school year with ease. Back to school time can be overwhelming, but it can also be exciting and so much fun. As long as you take the steps to plan, prep, and be present, you can beat back to school blues and kick off an amazing year with your students.
Remember to be kind to yourself and show yourself some grace…you are a phenomenal teacher! You got this! Here’s to a happy, healthy new school year!
Save These Tips for a Less Stressful Back to School
Save these back to school tips to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can come back to it the next time you are prepping for a new school year! Share them with a teacher friend too! Let’s help teachers everywhere have a less stressful back to school season.