This is something that’s been on my mind, and my heart, for some time now.
But it’s been hard to put into words. I’m taking the plunge today so I can try and put it out there.
Because there are many teachers who need to read what I’ve got to say here.
Teachers who are excited and ready to jump into a new school year.
Teachers who are overwhelmed and stressed in addition to all of that excitement.
If this is you, come on in! Grab a cup of coffee and let’s have a chat, teacher to teacher.
Back to School for Teachers is a Bag of Mixed Emotions
If you had to pick just one word to describe what back to school time feels like as a teacher, what word would you choose?
I don’t know about you, but I can’t quite narrow it done to just one! There are SO MANY words that describe it!
I could go on (and on and on!) but I won’t. You get the picture. And you probably thought of 10 more words to add to my list, didn’t you?
With back to school time comes a mixed bag of emotions for teachers. And that’s completely normal.
Which emotions hit you the hardest as you’re getting ready for a new school year?
Related: How We Talk About Kids Matters
Social Media & Why You Need to Put Your Blinders On
With the advent of social media, teachers around the world are more connected than ever.
And this can be an AMAZING thing. Sometimes.
Sharing ideas and encouraging each other on social media is wonderful, and I just love seeing teachers do this day in and day out. There are so many supportive teachers around the world, and social media has expanded that circle for all of us.
However, social media can also be a rough place to be around back to school time. Do you know what I mean?
When it seems like everywhere you look a teacher has a gorgeous, intricately setup classroom . . .
Where over-the-top classroom themes are cropping up in all of your social media feeds . . .
When you watch video after video of awesome do-it-yourself classroom projects that seem to take hours to put together . . .
Or you see extravagant bulletin boards that leave no room for students’ work . . .
And you hear about expensive classroom materials that are “absolute must haves.”
I’ve received a large influx of emails from stressed and worried teachers this summer. They’re feeling that they have to do it all as they plan and prep for a new school year. And social media has added a huge weight to their shoulders when it comes to this.
My biggest piece of advice if you’re feeling like this?
Put. Your. Blinders. On.
Focus in on planning and preparing for your class in the best way you know how.
Consult your local and state standards. Touch base with your administrator and coworkers.
Make lesson plans that are full of developmentally appropriate, hands-on, and meaningful early learning activities.
Do what you know needs to be done. And let go of the rest. (If you need me to sing a very out-of-tune version of “Let It Go!” just let me know. Always happy to help. I’ll even do the spinning dance!)
Put your blinders on. Stay in your lane. Keep focused on your students and what they need.
Now, if decorating your classroom or DIY projects are your thing . . . great! You can happily add those things to your prep list.
BUT if the thought of those extras is just too much . . . STOP! And get those blinders on.
Because you can create a safe, warm, and inviting classroom without a classroom theme or intricate bulletin boards or massive DIY projects or all the newfangled teaching resources.
And you can give your students valuable and meaningful lessons without all of those things.
Your Most Important Classroom Resource
Because do you know what this all boils down to?
YOU are the most important classroom resource you have. Yes, YOU! Do I need to break out the mirror for you?
The foundation for a great school year is making connections with your students. And that comes down to you.
Warmth, love, empathy, compassion, understanding from YOU will help make those oh-so-important classroom connections.
You help set up a classroom community. You make the connections with the children and their families. And you do the planning and the preparing day in and day out.
So please please (please!) remember your worth.
When your students are adults looking back on their educations, they’re not going to remember the fancy decorations or blinged-out bulletin boards.
Do you know what they ARE going to remember? You.
A Pep Talk from Me
As I mentioned earlier, this has been on my mind for a while now. I even went live on my Facebook page because I felt like you needed to hear things directly.
Take a peek (watch starting from about 1:00 to 6:00):
More About The Pack from Preschool Teacher 101
If you’re a preschool teacher and want to spend less of your own time on planning engaging, hands-on, developmentally appropriate lessons and activities . . . then you need to check out The Pack. It’s a membership full of done-for-you lesson plans, STEM activities, math packs, literacy activities, trainings, and more!