Here we are…the dog days of summer…hot, hot, and more hot. And yet, we are now thinking back-to-school. Back to work. Break over. For so many, this is a super stressful time. We either avoid going up to school to set up our classrooms at all costs, or we are panicking because we didn’t get it done before July ended. We are embracing back to school because our own children are going back to school (can I get an AMEN?!), or we are dreading the start of the school year because our break is ending. While I can’t say for sure where you are, I can speak to the ways that we can approach this back to school that will allow for some peace in our hearts.
Think back to when you decided that being a teacher was your dream. For some of us, it has always been our dream. We taught our stuffed animals as little 5-year-olds. For others, it took some time before the desire to shape the hearts and minds of littles (or bigger littles) caught hold. Think back to those moments. Picture yourself setting up your VERY first classroom.
Maybe you ARE setting up your very first classroom! If so, welcome to some of your most exciting days! Welcome to the most rewarding profession! Welcome to the club! You are surrounded by the hardest working people on the planet. And WE are so glad YOU are here. Your excitement, your complete joy, and your energy is NEEDED! You refresh us! You have something special to bring to the table!
Maybe you’re setting up your classroom for the 5th-15th-25thtime. Welcome back! We are so glad you’re here! Thank you for the time you have already spent pouring into the hearts of our nation’s children. Your experience is NEEDED. Your ability to ride the waves and anticipate challenges is NEEDED. You have something special to bring to the table.
While back to school can feel hectic, for ALL teachers, new and old alike, Leach’s Literacy Training wants to give you some simple things to remember for these next few days or weeks.
1. YOU. Your students are so, so excited to meet YOU. Regardless of where you are at in your “classroom set up” or “first week lesson planning”, please know that YOU are enough! It is YOU that is needed most. You are needed! Your team needs you. Your students need you. Your community needs you. YOU shape the minds that will be running our nation. YOU are the reason for Meet the Teacher. Put aside any paperwork and details that can wait until the first day of school (or even after) and just meet and enjoy your students and their families. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Let them know that you are there for them. You won’t regret it. YOU are a constant for so many. YOU are a source of safety, joy, and opportunity. YOU are essential.
2. BREATHE. While it might feel like you are trying to drink from a fire hydrant, you’ve got this! When you feel the tension rising, take a deep breath, unclench your jaw (you probably didn’t even realize you were doing it right now even!), lower your shoulders, and take another deep breath.
3. FOCUS. You are there for CHILDREN. When details overwhelm you, focus on one of their sweet faces. Look at the class picture from last year that made you cry on the last day of school. Our children need you. Choose to focus on doing what is right by children, not what is easy. While it is hard work, it is heart work that is WORTH the work. Children are always worth the effort.
4. LAUGH. Seriously. Take a moment to pull up a funny teacher video, a video you found online, a video of your own kids/grandkids/family that makes you laugh every time. And laugh. Laughter is literally good for your body, releasing endorphins, decreasing stress hormones, and increasing infection-fighting antibodies. Who doesn’t need more of THAT on any given day?
5. CHOOSE. Choose to smile. Choose to focus on the positive. Choose joy. Choose your attitude. Choose one that is good for you and for others around you. Model how students should respond when having a tough time. Model how to choose joy for your peers. Sometimes your ability to persevere in stress is just the boost someone might need. You never know the impact you have. Remember that you are being watched by lots of little eyes and lots of grown up eyes. You don’t have to be HAPPY all of the time, but we can choose to focus on the positive.
“People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.” — Anton Chekhov
Leach’s Literacy Training wants you to know how loved and how precious you are. We visit schools all over the nation, and we are inspired by your commitment to kids, your commitment to growth, and your commitment to your own learning.
Thank you for what you do for children. Leach’s Literacy Training is sending you BIG LOVE for this BIG school year!
Here’s to a great 2019-2020 school year!