How I Survived The First Week Of Back To School
Like most teachers, starting a new year is meet with mixed feelings. Mostly excitement, and a huge sense of feeling overwhelmed most of the time!
I don’t let that stop me from getting all the things done that I need to do! After years of teaching and having to learn the hard way, Ive mastered the art of surviving the first week of school as a preschool teacher. Keep reading to see my best tips and tricks of making it out of the first week of school safe and sound!
Surviving The First Week Of School - Preschool Teachers Edition!
Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself!
As I mentioned before i’ve been a preschool teachers for many years now, 6+ to be exact! So its safe to say i’ve been around the block a few times with this whole first week of school business. As many teachers we have so much to do coming off summer breaks, and yet so little time!
I often times found myself over stressing about the little things, and beating myself up about them. I would have a checklist of a million and one things to do before the first day. If I just so happened to miss one of my checkpoints I would begin to beat myself up and already feel as if I failed my little ones. When in reality I didn’t, the truth is kids don’t care about a silly checklist. I had to remember this was a huge transition for most of them as well, and the most important thing on my checklist for the first week of school was to make sure I do my best in making every student feel safe, loved, and supported in their new environment. My checklist would have to sit on my desk for the time being!
I know, I know you have probably heard this one time and time again, Your probably saying thats easier said than done! I hear you, as teachers we often have so much on our plates that making time for self care usually falls to the way side. This was honestly something that took a while for me to grasp, but as I mentioned before this was not my first rodeo show, so I religiously started to adopt this habit into my lifestyle in general, but most importantly on the fist week of school!
So here is what I would do, each day after work. I would check in with myself and see how I felt about the day and what I needed for the rest of the day. Some days are better than others, as most teachers know! However checking in with myself helped me to better understand what exactly it was that I needed to regroup and refresh for the next day. Check out my favorite self care things to do;
My Top 5 Self Care Things to Do:
After Work Mani & Pedi
Dinner at my favorite restaurant
45 Minute to 1 Hour Massage
Yoga at home
Dance Fitness Class at my local Rec or Gym
A relaxing evening on Movies on Netflix, no interruptions
Grab dinner with a friend, or spouse
Hitting the Sac early
Go With The Flow
Leading up to the first day of school I would usually construct an entire elaborate plan on how I wanted the day to go. As we all know, whatever we have planned as teachers can easily go out the window when teaching little ones!
I usually imagine a day of the kids and I holding hands, singing our favorite nursery rhymes in pure peace and happiness. Which is the exact opposite, the lesson I had plan is on hold as I consoled a 3 year old having a melt down about getting glue on his hand, Then my attention is quickly drawn to two littles ones fighting over 1 of the million markers we have in the art center, and lets not forget about the little one that refuses to participate or listen to anything I have to say. As I write this I can’t help but smile and think to myself, I really enjoying teaching! Most people would run at the sight of a 3 year old having a melt down in a classroom with 15 other kids all between the ages of 3 to 5. All I can do is smile and think about doing it all over again the next day.
So with all that said, I quickly learned to go with the flow, and adjust the day as needed. Now that i’m a veteran, I always check the temperature of the kids and make my best judgement on whether the next stage in my lesson plan will go off without a hitch or go up in flames!! Hear me when I say this, don’t be so rigid that you don’t allow yourself room to go with the flow, because the reality is working with preschoolers is very unpredictable and you will drive your self crazy if you try to stick to your exact plan every single day. You have to be able to adjust and adapt, which in the long run is best for you and the kids!
New Faces, New Places
Its one of you, and 15+ little ones in a new enviomrent amongst new friends. Don’t beat yourself up about needing to know every single Childs name, birthday, and favorite thing to do on the first day of school. I rely heavy on name tags, cubby tags, and my classroom rooster sign I sheet the first week of school!
I tell myself I have a whole year with these little ones, I will learn their names in no time. But I had to stop being hard on myself when I still didn’t know a few students names at the end of the week. Here are a few resources I use throughout the classroom to help me the first week of school!
Parent & Teacher communication
Ive always been great about communicating effectively with parents. I have never had an issue with parent and teacher communication!
I hope you know i’m only kidding, I have had my fair share of miscommunication with parents, and after having to go through that I quickly started to think of ways that I could better improve communication with parents on my end. This is not to say that every miscommunication with parents is our faults as teachers, we all know that couldn’t be further from the truth. However I knew as a teacher I needed to take a step back and think of ways I could communicate with parents more effectively in hopes of minimizing as much miscommunication as possible. So here is what I do;
Simple Math Equation: 1 Teacher + 15+ Students + 30 ( give or take parents) = Miscommunication at some pint!
On any given day your communication with parents looks like this;
How their Childs day went
Any incidents, possible injuries for the day
Any behavioral concerns you may have
Any missing forms, or authorization forms not turned in
Lost items that the child brought in, but no one can seem to find
Upcoming events, and holiday breaks
Potty training issues, or successes
How they did with luck today
Did they take a nap today
Was your little one sick today
and the list goes one. Doing that with 15+ parents on a daily bases, is a recipe for miscommunication at some point! It is what it is, but…..I like to make things a little easier on myself and hopefully you! At the start of the first week of school I like to send out back to school letters covering anything that I deem important. This helps me get the message out to everyone effectively, so i’m not repeating myself with each parent and accidentally leaving out details. This has been a game changer for me on the first week of school, Ive had a huge success with doing this and plan on continituin to do it throughout my teaching career!
Get yours Here BACK TO SCHOOL PARENT LETTERS
I hope your fist week of school is everything you wanted it to be, As teachers we are brave! I think we have the best and most important careers in the world! I hope you implement some of my tips for your first week of school! Until next time, happy teaching!