Two weeks ago, I went back to being a real adult in the real, working world. In other words, the days of waking up at 8am, wondering what I’ll do and how I’ll spend my seemingly endless amounts of time are way over. Now I’ll wake up at 5am, in a cold sweat, wondering how much I can possibly accomplish in one day on my never ending list if I start right NOW.
Just kidding- sort of. I did wake up somewhere in between 5 and 6 each morning this week, unable to even think of falling back to sleep with immediate thoughts of my students and how I’ll teach them well on my brain upon waking.
In all seriousness, though, this year I have the best outlook I’ve had of any year I’ve taught so far. It is probably because it is finally the first year that I am teaching a grade level for the second time in a row- meaning that my mindset isn’t of the totally overwhelmed camp and I’m almost level-headed with my sights set on the important things- building relationships with my students being at the top of the list.
And so far, so good. So since I’ve tackled week one and two with grace, I figured I’d some things I’m loving this week, teacher style, for any teachers that have their first week ahead of them still, or maybe for the ones that started out feeling like they were drowning just a little.
First day of school outfit picture!
1. Having a coffee maker in the room. I don’t care if the office or the library or the teacher work room or your teacher-neighbor has a coffee machine. Or all of them- which is my situation. Having a coffee maker in my room has been a game changer already. Let me explain.
If I leave my room during my planning time to make coffee or tea somewhere else, it is a guaranteed 20 time commitment, at least. Either I’m caught talking to someone, or walking back and fourth a hundred times because I pace like a crazy woman through the halls trying to use the time wisely while it is brewing, which never actually happens.
Enter my new bestfriendforever, Keurig 2.0. Keurig 2.0 conveniently gives me the caffeine and happiness I need to get through the day with the press of a few buttons. It also sends me kind messages, so if and when my students decide they don’t like me so much, my Keurig is still a kind machine that makes me feel good about myself in every way. Even better, I got this thing for 25 dollars from my lovely friend, Bri, and she gave me KCups and Carafe with it. She’s the best!
2. Saying “No.” Friends, I’ve become a toddler again. My favorite word is no. Last year I said yes to all the things. “Can we listen to music?” “Can we eat?” “Can we drink things out of cans?” seemingly sweet students asked with wide eyes. “Of course, lovelies, you should eat if you’re hungry, and listen to music if it helps, and so on.” I love being a laid back teacher, I thought to myself.
NOT! It backfired, bigtime. “Let’s listen to music and turn the song ten thousand times instead of pay attention to our work!” “Let’s eat a whole box of crackers and pass it around the room!” “Let’s fight over food!” “Let’s spill all our cans all over the floor!”
To start out this year, I’m saying no while we’re all still in the honeymoon phase. Last year, after saying yes at the beginning of the year, saying no and trying to enforce new rules later made all the students angry. We were no longer in the honeymoon phase, and they had no reason to be happy about my change in rules.
This year, while they still like me, I’m saying no with a smile and with confidence. And as long as I say it nicely and give them a reason, they haven’t even questioned my rules. Say no now, while you can, teacher friends! Say no to ALL OF THE THINGS!
3. Wine and chocolate and maybe even ice cream bars. Beginning of the year calories don’t count. That is all I have to say.
However, two weeks in, I’m realizing it is time to slow down on all the chocolate and ice cream (the wine can stay). I prepped for the week this week, and we’re eating healthy- but again, wine will stay.
4. Doing things other than school work after school. Yes, my to-do list would dwindle faster if I worked on school stuff after school. And sometimes I have to. But most days, instead, I do creative things like work on my part time job. Or I do rewarding things like play fetch with the cute little monster-pup that loves me. Or I take a walk. Or cook. Or spend time with people that I love.
I have to get to school earlier to get my stuff together for the day, but it feels good to keep work at work. It feels balanced, and I don’t feel overwhelmed and stressed and anxious. Actually, last year me would be totally jealous of this year me for that reason. I’m so relaxed! (read: I’m so relaxed 50 percent of the time, but that is a huge improvement.)
5. Figuring out a work out routine that works for me– I always have big dreams when it comes to working out. I always want to get to it five days a week- and make sure I’m hitting different workouts and different muscles and all. Last year I stressed about not being able to make it to Crossfit as often as I’d like, and therefore, when I couldn’t make it, I would mope and not workout at all.
This year, thought I am still in the building process of this routine and trying to make it a habit, I’m planning out my week, and the days I can’t make it to Crossfit, I’m utilizing my school’s “fitness room.” It is super small, but it works- and it is actually pretty great because I usually have it all to myself. Also, running and lifting a bit before school makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something before the day even starts. It is definitely stress relief as well, and it helps in doing the good work of making me not-so-crazy.
The best workout routine is always the one you will actually do, and stick with. That is the motto I’m working with this year.
Dearest teacher friends, I see you. I see how crazy you feel in your first week(s). And probably all the weeks. Me, too. But maybe you’ll find the implementation of these five things just as helpful in making you a little less insane. I strongly suggest trying at least number one, number two, and number three on the list. You see where my priorities are, right?!
Moral of the story, have coffee and chocolate at your fingertips at all times, and say no to everything. I swear you’ll be better for it!
And show all your kiddos all your love in those first weeks. I don’t believe in not smiling til Christmas. Saying “no,” sure, but go ahead and smile while you say it! I’m smiling way more this year, and my kids seem way happier and way more receptive.
Happy beginning of the year, everyone!