I haven't blogged much for the past six months or so. I really had to kick it up on the self-care front because my mom was diagnosed with cancer and my dad had brain surgery. It's really caused me to re-prioritize EVERYTHING. I've still been active on Instagram, but writing long posts just hasn't been something I've had time for. I'm going to try to keep my posts shorter and blog more often.

Going back to school tomorrow really has me conflicted. I love teaching, and I can't wait to meet my students... but I also love the family time, self care time, and the rest time that the summer has provided me. If I'm being honest, I don't even feel like I got to rest until August. That's why I was SUPER intentional about going back to school this year. This year, I really needed to reevaluate how I set up my classroom. These 3 things made back-to-school preparations manageable for me, and I hope they will for you too!

1. Be intentional with your time.

AKA: Make lists. Write down the things you need to get done in order of importance. I set up the majority of my classroom in 2 days this year, and I believe this is why. I limited the procrastinating by talking to colleagues and messing around on social media, and I GOT IT DONE. 

To give you an idea of what I mean, Day 1's list looked like this:
1. Move furniture 
2. Set up desk/computer area and set up power cords
3. Unpack file cabinet (this is where I shove things that need to go away for the summer)
4. Unpack closet
5. Take home needed items (this year it was pillowcases to be washed, popsicle sticks, and other things I could label at home)

By being intentional with my time and setting boundaries around the time I spent on school stuff, I was much happier. It's funny... this year I only gave myself two days to set up my classroom, and I got it done just as well as the other years where I gave myself two weeks. 

The lists prevented me from wandering around aimlessly, wondering what to do, and stopping to look at my disaster of a classroom and feel helpless and unsure of what to do next. There was literally zero seconds of that this year. WHOO HOO.

2. Prepare your first week of plans

I really do feel this is necessary. Some people like to go day by day for the first few days, but I'm not one of those people. I don't have energy to plan from scratch at the end of the day. Yes, you will need to make adjustments and things will change, but I'd rather have a good idea of what's going on than have to plan and prep an entire day at 4 PM.

This book has basically been my bible every year. It helps me set goals for the first day, week, etc and helps me plan things effectively. Every teacher I know who has this book feels the same exact way.  Click the picture above to be taken to the link on Amazon. Don't reinvent the wheel and spend your time on this when it has been done for you. If I have learned anything in the past few months, it's that I'd rather have TIME than a few more dollars in my pocket. Time is just as valuable as money, if not, more.

3. Plan your life so you don't neglect it.

This means plan your meals. In the week before school starts, batch cook like a maniac. Freeze stuff. You don't need to be cooking on your first week back. Pick up a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store and some bags of frozen, microwavable veggies. I don't care what you do, but PLAN for you being tired. Plan to treat yourself to some rest. It's so important!

It also means planning whatever else is stressful to you. Plan to let your parents take the kids for a day. Plan your exercise. Schedule a massage to give yourself a break. You will be a better teacher if you do this. I promise.

Those three things have been keeping me sane the past few weeks. I'll be sharing my classroom reveal soon. I have to complete a few finishing touches (like sharpening pencils, filling supply caddies, etc.), but I will be taking pictures in the next few days. Make sure to follow me on Instagram so you don't miss it!

By the way, if you're looking for a quick, easy, and unique way to engage families in your Back To School Night presentation, try running it like a Morning Meeting! It's a blast. You can make your own presentation, or you can pick one of the designs that I've created by clicking here or on the picture below. Like I said... remember that the time you'd spend making a presentation is often not worth the few dollars it costs to buy something pre-made that is high quality. That is going to be my motto this year.

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