Saturday, August 8, 2015

BTS Blog Hop: Five Rules for Back to School

Welcome to The Big Kids' Hall! I'm getting ready to start another year - my 23rd - on it. I really do love school I'm just not a big fan of alarm clocks set to 5:20, so I'm enjoying my last few days of waking up to sun filtering in and birds chirping.

I'm glad you've hopped over! I'm teaming up with Tammy, The Owl Teacher and other amazing teacher bloggers for a day of tips, goodies and a giveaway to make the transition a little easier.

My part? Well, I'm giving away a set of my Mentor Sentences for Big Kids  interactive notebooks pages and offering you...

Five Rules to Own Back-to-School

1.  Set Reasonable Expectations for Yourself. This is my biggest problem. I super-duper love Pinterest. Where else can you find such amazing lessons? Such beautiful classrooms? THIS:
I have to remind myself, regularly, that Pinterest is not a challenge site. Really. I catch myself getting down on me because the chevron on the baskets doesn't perfectly pick up the color of the stripe in the rug, like it does here. That's not a good use of my energy, and when I go there, everything, even the pretty good stuff, registers as crap in my head. Luckily, I've got a teammate who's good at telling me to get over myself.

2. Try to go all Zen when your priorities and the district's don't intersect. At all. It is painful to watch the stupid epi-pen video for the zillionth time (and I've got a peanut kid at home!) but at least it sort of makes sense. What's really frustrating is some flavor of the day PD when you've got things to DO.
Case in point: Monday the 17th is not a workday; it's the last day of break. However, we are strongly encouraged to attend curriculum workshops, for which we won't be paid. I'm signed up for a Singapore Math training I'm actually looking forward to, but that's not the point. Here's the kicker: they are closing the buildings so that we CAN'T go to school and work in our rooms.  This ranks a total WTF? but long ago I learned: they simply don't get it. There's no point in getting wrapped up and stressed with things you can't control, and unfortunately, the first week workshop is a good place to practice that bit of self-discipline. Just make sure your phone's charged when you go in. There are some apps you can get set up or work with while you're nodding and appearing engaged.  

3. Put other people to work. Does the high school have teacher cadets? They looove to cut lamination. Email their sponsor. Are there teens in your neighborhood that need service hours? They're probably as desperate to help as you are to have some. My high-schooler has gotten pretty good at setting up classrooms and is allowed to hire himself out at school when I don't need him. (I really missed his help at the end of last year because his summer job at the movie theater had started.) Don't think you have to do it all yourself. 

4. Beat the K-2 teachers to the laminator. or you won't get any done. If you're a rookie and you think I'm kidding, I'm not. I have no idea where all of those teeny-tiny things come from or even what they're for, but I do know that if I'm not on that pile early, I'll be up until midnight the night before Open House cutting my laminating because we had to wait for a roll of film to come in.

5. Enjoy at least one lunch, especially if you're losing your mind. I teach in the South, so duty free lunch is not part of my experience. I eat with the kids (but at least I get to eat at the teacher table; not everyone does.) This is one of the few times that I can enjoy the company of my teammates without the cacophony of 130 kids and having to stand up and give the stink eye to some kid behaving badly. Make yourself take a time out, even when you're sure if you do you'll never get done.  You'll be glad you did.

Be sure to pin the rules to keep and to share the giveaway with your friends!
Here's to a happy and productive start of the year!
Would you like a free sample of my Mentor Sentences? You'll find the freebie Geek Edition right here!


  1. I'm also guilty of browsing through pinterest, I love looking at everyone sharing their classroom and organisation ideas!

    Teaching Autism

  2. Your classroom looks adorable. Sometimes I need a Pinterest intervention from my husband because I also get too caught up in it's perfection.
    You have some great ideas! Thanks for sharing.
    Sandra's Savvy Teaching Tips

  3. I love the idea of putting kids to work! I would gladly pay a few high school kids to help me out! It's so hot that I just want to get in and out of the heat as soon as possible.