Teacher Back To School Struggles

This is the time of year that is not only exciting, but also challenging.  Here are some teacher struggles and some tips on how to deal with them.

1. Your Classroom

Most of us have spent countless hours this summer preparing our rooms.  You don’t need a Pinterst worthy room to be successful. But, you will need to be organized.

Try this: Organization is the key to a successful first few weeks.  Label, print, and cleanout that closet!

2. PD (Professional Development)

Uhhhh!  I just cringe when I hear that word.  Why do administrators think that we need PD?  LOL. No but really, I am not listening to you going on about policies and procedures that have not changed in the last 10 years.  Meanwhile, I am thinking of how I am going to differentiate for Johnny this year, since I have been told that he was recently diagnosed with Autism.  Well then, you also placed Jane in my room who is a screamer. I am thinking about how all of this will play out since Johnny can’t tolerate the loud noises that I am sure Jane will be making.

Try this: Jot down at least one thing positive that you can take back to your classroom.   Also jot down all of those great ideas of how you will differentiate for your Johnny and Jane, or how you will move your small group table, or your list of items you need to get at the grocery store (since your husband probably does not want pizza again tonight)...

3. Managing the New Crew

Once they arrive, now what?  Every single one of them have their own personalities, strengths, weaknesses, etc.   Your job for the first few days it to make those fresh-faced students comfortable.   

Try this: Make your classroom safe and welcoming.  Go over your classroom expectations. Tell them that you have great expectations and encourage them to do their best.  Download free growth mindset posters here.

4. That Overwhelming Feeling

Yes!  We ALL get overwhelmed!!!  Even veteran teachers get overwhelmed during this time of year.  The key to success is to stay positive and pace yourself.

Try this: Get a planner and write it down.  I prefer Erin Condren planner (I love both her Life Planner and her Teacher Planner).  
A great online planner is TrelloTrello allows you to create to-do boards for everything from personal to school lesson plans.
Planning out your to-do, will relieve the overwhelming feeling.  If not, try to meditate or do yoga! Don’t stress, you are going to do great!

5. Support Network

It is very important to have strong support from other staff members.  It is also important to support your school secretary, bookkeeper, coaches, custodians, etc. 

Try this: Reach out to other teachers when you need help.  Let me repeat, REACH OUT to other teachers when you need HELP!  This is very hard for most of us, but it is very important. If you do not feel comfortable with someone in you grade level/department, then go to another grade level/department.  

Somewhere down the path you will also be asked for help.  Or you may see another teacher struggling, reach out to them.  We can all succeed TOGETHER.

6. Special Needs

You may have students with special needs or physical handicaps. You are going to need to differentiate how you will help them throughout the year.

Try this: Meet with your support staff.  See what works and does not work for each individual student.  Reach out to the parents early. Stay in contact and work together to make your year successful.

7. Parents

Most likely you will not know most of your parents.  You will have to not only help their child, but also help them at some point in the school year.  REMEMBER: They are sending you their best.  
Try this: Send a note home that introduces yourself. Let parents know that you are available, and list the process for getting in touch with you.  Make sure that you have given your parents a copy of your policies and procedures, so that they can refer to it throughout the year.

Teaching is all totally worth it! As educators, we teach our future Einsteins, doctors, firemen, engineers, bus drivers, police officers, computer programmers, and so many more. 

We will celebrate many accomplishments throughout this year.  Remember to be patient, be flexible, but most of all...keep a sense of humor.

I am wishing you the best school year ever!

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