Back-to-school is an exhilarating time full of hope and excitement for a new school year for teachers and students alike. But, those first few weeks are also exhausting! Check out the tips below to be sure to start the year off right to keep yourself sane and avoid burnout.
Tip #1 – Start Off Organized
Nothing is worse than not being able to find what you need. Knowing where things are stored so they can be easily found is essential. By using OneNote, teachers can easily have lesson plans, class documents and presentations, emails, parent contact information and more at their fingertips. Inserting text, images, files, audio & video is easy with just a few clicks and the OneNote Clipper allows you to seamlessly clip items directly from your Internet browser into OneNote. And with OneNote’s amazing search functions, information can be found quickly and easily.
Tip #2 – Get Rest & Hydrate
The beginning of the school year is always a hectic time for everyone and sometimes the best-laid plans get scrapped almost as soon as things get started. Being well-rested can help you better handle all the twists and turns that the start of the year bring. In addition to rest, it is important to always drink a lot of water to keep your body hydrated. Dehydration leads to even more exhaustion, so be sure to load up on the H2O and get plenty of shut-eye to keep your brain sharp and fresh.
Tip #3 – Communicate Early & Often
To avoid stress and confusion down the road, start the year off with open lines of communication. As a teacher, communication comes in many forms – with colleagues, administrators, students, parents – and it is important to communicate effectively with all of them.
- Colleagues – Communicate and collaborate with colleagues by sharing ideas for lesson plans, tips and tricks, tools and resources, etc. Why should teachers who teach the same curricula and grade level plan in isolation? Use tools like OneNote and Skype to easily collaborate and communicate with colleagues.
- Parents & Students – Opening the lines of communication with parents early-on is essential to not only provide them with pertinent information for your classroom, but also to introduce yourself and show them you are a real person! Consider creating a class newsletter using Sway to not only introduce yourself, but keep parents and students updated with your class throughout the year.
- Administrators – In addition to email and face-to-face meetings, you can easily collaborate with colleagues and keep in touch with your administrators by using a OneNote Staff Notebook.
Tip #4 – Take Time for Family, Friends & Laughter
As they say, all work and no play is a bad combination. Although the first few weeks of school tend to be work-focused, make sure to set aside time each day to spend with the people who mean the most to you. And not only that, take time to laugh. Laugh with your loved ones and enjoy the time with them. And most importantly, allow yourself to laugh at the craziness that is back-to-school and enjoy what you do. Laugher really is the best medicine.
Tip #5 – Persevere
Remember that without the terrible days, we would not be able to recognize the great ones. No one is perfect. If something didn’t work today, reflect on why, learn from it, and try something different next time. Tomorrow is new day, a better day. Use resources such as the Microsoft Educator Network to expand your professional learning community beyond your school and district and to access a plethora of tools, tips, tutorials, discussions and more. Keep at it and continue to take risks in your classroom so that you can be your very best for those who matter the most – the students!
Special thanks to my friend and colleague Sue Ramondo for her ideas and insight.