Tips for the Daily Grind

Good morning, Monday - handwriting on a napkin with a cup of coffee
image source: www.bigstockphoto.com

Where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday I was planning what I wanted to do this summer with my family, and here I am already preparing for classes.  I can’t believe how fast the school year got here!  Everyone will soon be going back to the daily grind  of  lesson prepping, dry mouth from excessive talking, and marking, so I hope you’ve all enjoyed your time off.

I’m going to be honest — I was struggling to come up with a topic, especially on such a beautiful day like today. But then I thought about going back to work and how to best transition from no school habits like: sleeping in, (well, I haven’t had the pleasure of doing that since becoming a mom), and going wherever the wind takes me, to a quick shift into the routine of waking up early, standing for hours teaching, and the usual work-related things.

That’s why it’s important to get mentally prepared for the back-to-school reality of  piles of work, not enough sleep, marking, and so on, which we’re all about to face ☺. So without further ado, here are some quick tips to help you get started on the right foot this school year:

Positive Attitude

Approach the new school year with a positive attitude. It’s easy to get stuck in the “I can’t believe I have to drag myself out of bed at 7 a.m. for the next year!” mentality. Keep in mind why you’re where you are today and why you chose this very profession. Reminding yourself of your intentions will go a long way…hopefully in a positive direction ☺

Sunday Morning Deadlines

Have your lessons prepped for the coming week by Sunday morning. I think this is useful because this way you won’t spend your entire Sunday figuring out what to plan and how to execute your lessons. It’s important to maintain some time for relaxation. Peace of mind, my friends!

Icebreakers

Using Icebreaker activities for students is such a great way to get everyone to let loose and have a fun time getting to know each other, as well as getting to know you!  Here are a couple of sites that might be of interest to you:

http://www.eslcafe.com/idea/index.cgi?Ice:Breakers

http://www.eslconversationquestions.com/icebreakers-speaking-activities/

Keep a Journal

I love this. Although  I ‘m not consistent with writing in a journal myself, I do think having a special place where you can write all of your thoughts and your feelings down will help you cope with whatever little challenges you’re bound to experience this upcoming year. When you write down what you’re thinking, you clear your head of whatever it is that’s keeping your mind busy, allowing you to focus and get on with your day.

You Are Not Alone

Finally, remember you’re not alone.This one is important because oftentimes we forget that others are experiencing similar if not the same things we are. So if you’re feeling nervous about teaching your new class or meeting your students for the first time, remember that most of your colleagues will experience the same thing to some degree. You are not alone. ☺

I hope the above tips help you ease into this school year. I can’t make summertime longer, but I can try to help make the fact that it’s ending a tad easier to bear.

Here are a few more great articles to help you out:

http://teaching.about.com/od/pd/a/Back-To-School-For-Teachers.htm

http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2014/aug/20/teacher-wellbeing-how-to-prepare-for-new-school-year

Until next time. Happy reading!

What advice can you give to your fellow colleagues? I’d love to read them in the comments below!

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POST COMMENT 4

4 thoughts on “Tips for the Daily Grind”

  1. Thanks for the great article. This school year I have made a commitment to myself to spend a lot less time lesson planning. I want to improve my work-life balance, as I tend to allow my prep to expand to fill whatever time there is available for it, much to the chagrin of my partner who would like a little of my time for bike rides, movies and so on. I need a life outside classroom and prep! So far it’s going pretty well. I’m adhering much more strictly to my TESL prof’s “rule number one.” That is, whenever possible, have the students do the work. You know, I think I’ll blog about that this week. Thanks for getting me to reflect on my approach to ‘back to school.’

    1. Kelly, I think we can all relate and agree that most of us are guilty of not properly balancing our work/life schedule. There’s an underlying expectation that when you work you have to give 300% of your effort AND time. And although I don’t disagree, I think it’s important to be cognizant of that expectation and physically and mentally try to tone it down a little, like you have. I think it’s perfectly ok to say that you want to spend time with your partner or your family. It’s just as important as prepping for lessons, if not more.
      Thank you for your comment and for allowing me and the rest of us to further reflect on this important work-life balance issue. Can’t wait to read what you have to say in your post!

  2. Hi Laila!
    I think the Sunday morning deadline is so important! The day before a busy week, we need a day to really decompress, then recharge our batteries to face the challenges that may lie ahead.
    I absolutely believe that when we reduce stress we perform better and make better choices — not only in our work as teachers, but as parents, partners, friends, and colleagues.
    Thanks for sharing your ideas!

    1. Maria, you hit the nail on the head! It’s all about finding what works for you and it seems like you totally have that down pat! 😉
      Thank YOU for your comment and for sharing your thoughts with the rest of us.

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