There’s nothing quite like the first day back after summer vacation has ended. Everyone is sleepy. Some of us are trying to catch up with our colleagues to see how their summers were. Most importantly, everyone is anxious to get work done. There are so many things that must be done. You have to unpack your room, unload your car, decorate your room, get your curriculum maps together, get your worksheets for the first week of school together, rearrange furniture…. As you sit down with a heaping cup of coffee, a pair of sweats and school t-shirt on, you pick up the agenda for the week—and it is FILLED to the brim with PD sessions. How? Why? When? I sympathize! I empathize!
…I also understand that there are topics that must be discussed and tasks that must be accomplished in the beginning of the year. Oftentimes, that is the ONLY TIME administration can get everyone together at once to cover those topics. Generally, you will have some time to yourself, but it’s never as much as you need. Here are a few tips to help you maximize your time during that PD time.
1. Make a plan ahead of time. Create a list of all of the things that you will need to do or buy or put together or write out…. Whatever it is you will need to do, list it! After you have a list, prioritize the items. What has to be done before the students come to your room? What can you do after? What is going to take a long time to finish? What can you do quickly? After you’ve categorized everything, create a timeline for those items using the time it will take you to complete the task and the importance of the task to help you determine what you need to do first.
2. Pre-plan your room decor. This may seem like an unnecessary step, but it helps to streamline room decorating. How will you arrange the furniture? What are you going to put on your bulletin boards? What are the key sections of your room (i.e. stations, library, reading corner, lab space, small group work space…)? Will you have a color scheme or theme? What will it be? You will decorate your room much faster if you have a plan.
3. Recruit a team! Many people ask siblings, spouses, children, former students, current students…to assist with tasks. If there’s something that someone else can do, ask them to help you out!
4. The dreaded, but ever so helpful, go in early! I know, I know, so many people are horrified by this notion! But, it is extremely helpful! If you can go to your school early, (maybe the week before PD begins) to decorate a room or get other simple, yet time consuming tasks completed, do it. Truthfully, it takes me at minimum two days to decorate a classroom. Going into the school when it is empty and quiet is always the best time to get something done. You don't have to wake up super early and you don’t have to stay late—it’s all on your terms (EVEN BETTER!).
5. Reach out to administration to see what housekeeping items you can handle immediately. Can you get your keys? Can you get the format for your curriculum maps? What can your administrator send you before school starts that you can knock out OR simply plan a method of attack to approach? Figuring this out can make life a lot easier.
I know that each of these things can’t always be done, but doing a few of them can result in a dramatically different stress level during that teacher PD week. You don’t want that stress to spill over into the first week of classes for students!
If you like this blog, watch the VIDEO, and if you want to learn about more tips, please contact me!