The second week of the school year is done, and I feel moreso like I am back in my element. The first week can be exhausting even to a veteran, and my heart especially goes out to new teachers whether taking over their first class or starting again in a new district. It can be disconcerting to be the “new kid on the block” at times when you don’t understand the native culture of your campus or district. I am teaching in my fifth district, and I can tell you that when you start in a new district with a new preparation/curriculum/team mates, it is mentally and physically exhausting. So what do you do?
1. Make sure to take one afternoon off from grading, lesson plan writing, etc. to have some me-time. This could be a bubble bath, a visit to the library or book store, a manicure/pedicure, or quite simply a nap with the phones off to recharge your batteries.
2. Talk to your best friends and make plans to spend some time with them even if it’s a quick cup of coffee at Starbucks.
3. Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your students won’t learn everything you want them to in one lesson or perhaps class period. It takes time.
4. Learning something new means great successes and some bumps along the road. I am still learning about my students’ work habits and their personalities. They do not come with operation manuals or instructions. A lot of my insight comes from watching closely and listening carefully. I utilize body language to help me figure out if my young charge is receptive to my words or not.
5. Anyone who tells or implies to you that you must be perfect all of the time is not realistic. We have emotions that sometimes bubble to the surface despite our efforts to maintian a professional face. Some kids’ personalities will grate against yours. Some kids will remind you of that person who bugged you in class, but they have different names and faces than your former classmates. This is normal.
6. Eat healthy foods that are good for you as often as you are able. I’ve done the drive-thru routine when necessary, but nothing quite tastes homemade like homemade. Visiting the produce section of the grocery store to pick up a salad and fixings is good to do.
7. Drink your water to keep hydrated. I’ve been known to take water bottles with me and keep myself hydrated. Some of my colleagues carry their own plastic permanent water bottle or cup to keep track of how many glasses per day they drink.
8. Take your vitamins daily! When it’s cold and flu season, load up on the vitamin C, and sanitize your desks, door knobs, and counter tops. Trying to plan for a sub when you can hardly breathe due to congestion is misery.
9. Make sure to take a personal day each semester. I take my mother to the annual ‘Neath the Wreath, a Junior League function, to shop for Christmas decor and spend the day together just having fun on our own schedule.
10. Enjoy your vacation time with your family and friends. Remember that you have hobbies and interests outside of teaching. Share about your hobbies and interests as appropriate with your students, but let them know you are a real person, too.
I am sure that something else will come to mind along this same vein, but for now, I bid you good day. ¡Ciao!