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About a week or so before your summer comes to an end, feelings of sadness, anxiety, and uneasiness start to set in. Summer is coming to an end and all of the memes about how great it is to have summers off are fading into the distance. If your summer was good, you'll smile at the thought of your summer memories but if you spent your summer toiling and not making fun memories, resentment replaces back-to-school bliss.
As you return to your school for pre-planning, it's a mixed vibe. Some teachers are excited to be back and are ready to dive into preparing their classrooms. Other teachers look at pre-planning like an opportunity to get back into "teacher-mode," while the last group of teachers literally dragged themselves off the beach and are back in the building, kicking and screaming, refusing to relinquish those last days of summer break. So what do you do before the 180-School-Day party gets started again? Let's take a look:
- Room Ready: It's officially time to get your interior decorating on. What's the theme of your classroom? What's your color scheme? (' -)?
- In Your Feelings: Allow yourself to be in your feelings. Your brain has to adjust from being in Summer Break mode. It's ok to not be looking forward to the beginning of the school year. It's ok to feel a sense of sadness because summer break is coming to an end. You're not a bad teacher, you just love time away from work... just like everyone else.
- Emails, emails, and more emails: Even though your inbox will be on 1000, check your email! You'll have to sit through a lot because even though you were on Summer Break, your email inbox was not! Also, when sending emails, keep it simple because no matter how much detail you put in it, words always seem to get lost in translation... Somewhere between what you meant, what you wrote, and what the recipient understood, things get lost. If your email is more than three sentences, you will undoubtedly have to talk to your colleague through it.
- Ward Off Walnut Trees: You will be in meetings on top of meetings on top of more meetings. There will be jokes that are not offensive but just not funny, fake enthusiasm, lots of brown-nosing and even fake interest... You know, the teachers that really don't like each other but act like they're interested in how the other's summer went. Then as soon as they leave the conversation, they're off to spread rumors about each other.
- Pack Your Patience: Expect longer days in the beginning. Between the impromptu staff meetings, the extended time it takes for bus call (in the beginning) due to student confusion about the bus they ride, and "All Hands On Deck" needed during arrival and dismissal, your days will be longer than usual. These issues will require you to show up a little bit earlier and stay a little bit later.
Embrace the endless possibilities of the new school year. Be ready to take on the challenges, smile at your success and build from your "unsuccesses." When the pace moves too fast and situations become a little too chaotic for your comfort, take a step back and never forget the importance of self-care. To all of my veteran educators, "In a teacher-world full of Beyonce's, be a LeBron... Still an all-time great but managing your load wisely and not doing it all, all the time."