With the upcoming Labor Day, we’re reminded of the back to school season. When I was growing up I pretended to hate going back to school. It meant no more long days of swimming, riding bikes and sleepovers on a Tuesday. But back to school also meant new pencils, backpacks and friends you haven’t seen in months. For the teachers going back to school, I fear the experience is a little more complicated than picking out the right folder.
For teachers, August signifies the time to pull the teaching tools that were packed and stored last May out of the dark closet. Teachers are amazing people, full of patience and ingenuity. They’re warm and welcoming and I find out of all of the teachers I know, no matter what age group they teach, they’re students are always their kids. For teachers, there’s the lesson plans to organize, seating charts to jot down and most of all, they always seem to be organized. I like to look towards my teacher friends during this time of year because they seem to be innately amazing at two things aside from teaching. 1) They’re incredibly organized. 2) They have a lot of stuff – and yes, it is organized.
DO mark the contents of your boxes. Whether you are unpacking your classroom or moving across town, your helpers will understand your filing system. Telling somebody to look in the box labeled “Art Supplies” is much easier than saying, Hey go grab that box over there. Yeah, the brown one. No, not that one, the other one.
DO have a strategy for each day. Take it from teachers, strategy is key to success. That’s why lesson plans exist for classroom success. Is it the first day of school and you need a little extra time to say goodbye? Are there multiple team practices to get the kids to? Make sure you have plenty of time to arrive and complete each task without stress. Moving day is no different.
DON’T have unrealistic expectations. The lesson plan is in place and everybody is attentive but you might have been just too ambitious about that math plan. Step back and reevaluate. It’s okay to take the temperature and reset the days’ expectations. Adhering to an unrealistic lesson, moving or organizing plan will not make your day successful. It is okay if something takes a little longer than you originally thought but it is best to reevaluate the next steps so everything has a chance to succeed.
DON’T forget your sense of humor. The most attractive thing I’ve ever seen on a person is smile. Do you remember walking into your first day of school and seeing your teacher’s smiling face there? Now as a parent, are you not relieved to meet your kid’s teacher and find it’s smiling? Remembering your sense of humor will go a long way in keeping perspective about what is important and what is the goal. Whether it’s teaching about the Civil War, getting everybody to work and school on time or saying goodbye to a cherished house to move into new opportunities, do it with a smile and a sense of humor. Nothing will be perfect and that’s okay!
The new school year will bring new challenges. They can be a move to a new school district, a new job or finding the rhythm of each day, it’s best to always remember the following: organization, strategy, intention, realistic expectations, sense of humor.