The 12 Stages of Going Back to Work for Teachers

Yesterday was my first day back to preplanning for the 2015-16 school year (oh my goodness, how time flies by!)  I was absolutely thrilled about the idea of going back to work because I love my job, I really enjoy the people that I work with, and I am the type of person who is innately motivated by completing tasks.  It’s strange, I know.  Most of my teacher friends were more like:

But despite my enthusiasm, I am no stranger to the 12 Stages of Going Back to Work for Teachers.

1. Denial

“What day is tomorrow again?  The day I go back to work???  Naw, can’t be.  I just started my summer vacation.”

2. Protest

“I refuse to go to bed at a decent time.  It’s my LAST DAY OF VACATION!  I’ll worry about tomorrow TOMORROW!”

3. Apathy

“It’s cool.  I mean, whether I’m in jeans and a t-shirt at my house or in my classroom, who cares? It’s all the same blah-blah as last year.  Been there done that.”

4. Anxiety

::Alarm Goes Off::  “OH MY GOD!!!  IT’S TOO EARLY!!  I HAVE TO PACK ALL MY BOOKS AND POSTERS AND MARKERS AND COFFEE CUPS AND NOTEBOOKS AND REMEMBER TO BRING COFFEE BECAUSE THE SCHOOL’S IS WRETCHED AND MY PANTS DON’T FIT ANYMORE AND WE HAVE TO SIT IN THOSE AWFUL CHAIRS ALL DAY AND THERE’S NO AIR CONDITIONING IN THE CAFETERIA AND I DON’T REMEMBER WHERE MY PARKING PASS IS AND THERE’S A STAIN ON THE SHIRT I WAS GOING TO WEAR AND….!!!!!!!”

5.  Elation

Reuniting with all your friends who you haven’t seen since June is so exciting!  You have so much to catch up on!  And there’s usually breakfast with lots of sugary goodies on the first day back.

6. Optimism

After looking around the room at the new faces and starting to hear the same old procedures from your years gone by, you realize that you’re going to be just fine.  Like riding a bike.

7.  Overwhelmed

The laundry list of meetings, agendas, task forces, subcommittees, classroom setup, orientation night prepping, creating syllabi and the first week’s lesson plans, etc. Oh, and it’s all due by Friday!

8. Sloth

Sitting in too many back-to-back meetings drains the light out of you, so tackling that list that gave you a heart attack doesn’t seem quite so daunting.  You’ll get to it; it will all get done.

9. Nesting

Finally, you’re in your room and the posters begin to find their homes on the walls, you’ve decided on the final layout for the desks for the first few weeks/months/all year, and you’re in the Room Preparation Zone!

10. Mania

OH SNAP!  ORIENTATION IS TOMORROW!

11. Peace

Everything is finally in its place, just like you knew it would be all along.

12. Eagerness

Now that you’ve found your back-to-work routine, your classroom is prepped, supplies and copies are ready, it’s time for the kiddos to arrive.

July 2015 Wrap Up

Highlights of the Month

Top Posts

Top 5 Posts of July:

5.  What is Your Reading Style?

4.  Analyzing Fiction and Nonfiction Strategies

3.  How to Begin your PrePlanning

2.  Planning Tools

1.  The Reading I Didn’t Do and Classroom Bootcamp 

Books I’ve Read:

Classroom FYI:

 

How to Begin Your PrePlanning

My preplanning work station.

My preplanning work station.

Some may disagree with me, but I would rather give up a bit of my vacation time to work on a project on my own terms, in a comfortable environment, and a pace of my choosing.  I work better when I can control the amount of distractions, or at least the types of distractions, as opposed to having to be disrupted for a full-schedule of meetings and professional development sessions.  Trust me, there will be plenty of those over the school year.  I’m also the type of person who tends to be restless, so if I’ve taken care of my other priorities, I am glad to tackle the next stack.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t necessarily enjoy having to “work” on curriculum and planning when I should be taking in the sunshine and relaxed atmosphere of summer.  I need to be in the right frame of mind.  So how does that happen?

Here are some tips for getting the ball rolling on your own preplanning schedule:

1.  Make a list of ALL the things that you want to accomplish.

Trust me, this won’t overwhelm you.  It will actually make the process that much easier.  Consider this a “brain dump” and don’t beat yourself up if you eventually cross things off your list.  You may find that once you begin, some tasks won’t be necessary.  It’s always better to have more and cut back than vice versa.

2.  Start with the easiest tasks first.

This will get you warmed up to the idea of the larger tasks.  For myself, I started by simply updating the dates on my syllabi and annual plan/pacing guide.  If you’re like me and will be teaching the same content area/grade levels, this is about as simple as it gets.  Once I started updating my dates for one class, I started considering which texts I was going to be using.  I then took out the text books and started narrowing down, refining what I would and would not include in the syllabus.  From there, I was able to simply cut and paste.  Abracadabra: updated syllabus and pacing guide!  Just before starting this blog post, I realized that I had checked off almost ALL of my tasks!

Updated To Do List

3.  Pace out your to-dos.

Don’t try to complete the entire list all in one sitting; you’ll burn yourself out and make the process  painful as opposed to enjoyable.  We all know when our threshold has been met, so do what you can until it’s no longer enjoyable.

4.  Google your key terms.

If you’re feeling uncreative or become stuck in a planning rut, use the internet as a resource for both your content and your motivation.  Sometimes seeing how other teachers have addressed the same topic or text will open your eyes to new possibilities.  Also, don’t forget the power of social media!  I find a lot of inspiration from the teachers and administrators in my Twitter #PLC.

5.  Enjoy the process!

Remember how you felt when you first started teaching: the eagerness of getting into your OWN classroom, planning your OWN curriculum.  It’s still in there somewhere.  Allow yourself the opportunity to explore new options for your planning.  Research a new instructional or classroom management strategy. The benefit of starting early is that you don’t have to rush.

One last tip: reward yourself each time you cross another item off your to-do list.  You’ve completed a major accomplishment and should view it as such.