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Expectations for the first week of school

teacher back to school

TPT shared this image on their instagram this week and it really stuck with me – probably because it’s exactly the kind of reminder that I always need during the first week. There’s so much pressure to jump back into a full-on routine and do all the things, but that’s not healthy for us as adults, and it can create a lot of stress for our students. Setting realistic expectations for the first week of school makes such a difference!

I’m a planner, you know that, so for me this looks like getting out my calendar and really assessing what each day will look like and what I can actually take on in the hours that I have available. I know that doesn’t work for everyone, so another helpful strategy is to only say yes to the things that you value most at the moment. Prioritizing and setting boundaries is key.

On Monday I shared some thoughts on getting back into a school routine, and the importance of really easing into it – this is true for adults as much as for students! Identify those pieces that are most important for you to tackle this first week, and make those your focus. I personally value being able to really get to know my students, starting the day with a positive attitude and lots of energy, and creating a fun and happy emotional climate in the classroom. For me to be able to do these things for my students, being stressed and tired doesn’t help. Take a minute to think about what you value most during the first week. When you identify those things, what are some of the ways you can support them? What can wait for the second or third week of school so that you can prioritize these initial pieces?

The first week will be a whirlwind, the first month might feel like a blur, but ensuring that you don’t burn out before winter break is the goal here. Treat yourself well and remember that you don’t have to do it all!

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