A Back to School Teacher Pep Talk

It's funny how ideas pop into your head at the oddest times, mine usually come to me in the middle of the night or on my drive to work. My latest brainstorm came to me at mile marker 0.2 on my summer run. Yep....I was already breathing heavy and regretting a 7 a.m. run when the temperature was already 90 degrees.

Well, I set a goal this summer that I would get out and start running again. It's been a while, and a slight injury had me benched. However, I knew I could get back into routine. My mistake though, was trying to start off too strong and jump right back into a full run.

I'm sure you all have heard the phrase from Finding Nemo, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming." That became my motto during this muggy 7 a.m. run, "Just keep running, just keep running."
That's when it hit me, I shouldn't feel like I'm drowning already, like I'm barely keeping my head above water. I won't want to do this again tomorrow if that is how I feel!

I realized then that we as teachers do the same thing to ourselves in our classrooms. We get excited about new goals, ideas, or curriculum in the classroom, and sometimes start them too soon, before having our classroom community fully established.

I did that with my exercising. I didn't take a week to just stretch. I didn't take the next week to just walk. I didn't take the following week to alternate between walking and running. And of course, I definitely did not take a fourth week to move into a slow run. Instead, I jumped right in to my new goal. Well, I wasn't prepared for that. Instead, I was muttering under my breath, "Just keep running, just keep running."

I am writing today to remind you to take it slow at the start of the year with your new routines. Stretching is the most important part of exercising, correct?! Well, so is getting to know your students and establishing a relationship with them. Stretching should happen every...single....day, yes?! Well, so should student relationships. Let them know you care about them and reach out to your students every single day. Think of stretching as your classroom community building activity and do this every day, all year long.

Next, start slow. Just like I should have started off with walking, take a week to slowly implement some of your routines.

Finally, I should have taken another week to complete a walk/run combination. In your classroom, think of this as still modeling and practicing routines, but you are sprinkling some curriculum in here and there.

By starting off slow, not jumping right into your curriculum, you will set a foundation for the rest of the year. And you definitely won't be muttering under your breath by week 8, "Just keep teaching, just keep teaching."

Back to School Resources

Here are some posts to help you build community and practice procedures at the beginning of the year.

Have a Not So Wimpy day!