The school year is about to start! It’s an exciting time of year, but it’s also pretty hectic. There’s the physical space to set up, lessons and units to prepare, students and families to get to know, and meetings to attend. All too often, we teachers find ourselves swamped with work right at the beginning of the year, and in a desperate attempt to start the year positively, we immediately move into overdrive, trying to do too much in too little time.
Before we know it, it’s the middle of the year, we’re still not caught up (we never really do, right?), and we’ve fallen into unhealthy patterns as we’ve tried to meet the impossible demands of our profession. I remember one year I got into the habit of stopping at Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s on the way to school every morning as I tried to get to school quickly to get extra work done. Six months and 25 pounds later, I had a hard habit to break!
We will all develop habits and patterns of behavior as a new school year begins. If we’re proactive and thoughtful, we can get ourselves “stuck” in patterns of healthy behavior before bad habits emerge. Here are a few to consider:
- Make exercise a part of your getting-to-school routine in the morning. Bring your school clothes to the gym or the pool, work out, and then shower and head right to school.
- Plan healthy snacks to eat at school every day. Make Sunday evening your time to prepare and pack good snacks for the week.
- Pick one day a week to connect with positive colleagues. Maybe it’s Wednesday mornings for breakfast at a local diner. It could be Friday afternoon for happy hour. It might be Tuesday mornings at school for a fun book group. Set something up, invite positive colleagues, and then stick to it!
- Pick a day a week to do some journaling. A few minutes to write down reflections from the week can help you detect patterns and trends in your students and your teaching that can help improve your practice.
Mike Anderson is an education consultant, award-winning teacher, and author of many books including The Well-Balanced Teacher, The First Six Weeks of School, The Research-Ready Classroom, and Learning to Choose, Choosing to Learn. Learn more about Mike and his work or invite him to work with your school or district through his website: www.leadinggreatlearning.com. Connect with Mike on Twitter: @balancedteacher.