Back to School Like A Boss! 10 Survival Tips!

When starting with a new group of learners, I am hardly able to sleep the night before. Next week, I begin a new course and trust me I’m pretty nervous. However, I welcome the excitement, because I know as a teacher, I have the important mission of guiding the learning journeys of many. According to Teachers Count, the average teacher impacts 3000 students within a lifetime. How many will you impact this year? What kind of impact will your students have on others and the world? Teachers need to be inspired, strong, and mission minded in order to inspire students to lead meaningful lives. Education is what will get our students on the path to achieving their passions, hopes, and dreams. Learning helps our students break generational cycles, lead better quality lives, and make a positive mark on the world. I hope to ease your first day back with the following tips and bookmarks. Click here to download the presentation slides and click here to download a pdf to share with other teachers in your building!

Enjoyed these resources? Get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachers or Learning to Go.

My Survival Tips

  1. Walk in motivated– You will have the rest of the year to get bogged down, stressed, and in the dumps. What’s wrong with walking in believing you can really make a difference to your learners? Click here for resources to avoid teacher burnout.
  2. Engage parents– Contact parents  with positive messages about their children to let them know you believe in their children. I like to write emails and send one to each parent with a nice personal note about the student. Formmule is a great add-on to quickly send a batch of personalized emails through Google Docs! I also include information about the school supplies, technology we will use, and more. Invite them to a parent technology workshop run by your department. Get parents to test out the sites and technology you plan to use. Find more great tips in this post, Survival Tips for Engaging Parents!
  3. Change the classroom environment– In chapter 24 of The 30 Goals Challenge, I talk about different ways to change your classroom to enhance the learning. This includes learning stations, makerspaces, and shoeless classrooms!
  4. Encourage learners to take part in creating their own learning environments!
    • Have them graffiti on butcher paper on the wall
    • Have them post their inspirational quotes on the wall
    • Have them help design the bulletin board, calendars, or your virtual learning spaces!
  5. Be preventative and proactive when it comes to managing your classroom– In my classes, I want my students to reflect on their behavior choices, think about the consequences of their choices, and make better decisions. Writing them up and sending them to the principal doesn’t really get them to do this. I try not to punish and strive to discipline with love. Classroom management tips and strategies are discussed in chapter 19 of The 30 Goals Challenge.
  6. Unbind yourself from textbooks– You know what your students need to learn so feel free to pick and choose what will work in the book and try having students be the main content creators of materials. Find 50+ tips and resources in this post, Bring Your Textbook to Life!, and Spice Up That Lecture!
  7. Build a teacher survival kit– I knew a teacher, who carried in her purse, masking tape, scissors, a small cushion ball, and other supplies for emergencies. This was her kit, which made her flexible to change her lessons or get kids moving in case of fire drills, student restlessness, etc. I talk about this more in detail in chapter 9 of The 30 Goals Challenge. Find a recent post here!
  8. Cultivate relationships– Check out my icebreakers for children and icebreakers for teens and adults. Find plenty more get to know you activities on my Icebreakers page.
  9. Integrate technology effectively– Pedagogy first then technology. Find more tips on my page, Survival Tips for Integrating Technology. When we use technology it should:
    • Support students ownership of learning
    • Allow students to be content creators
    • Engage and motivate students to be continuous learners
    • Support effective communication, especially with peers worldwide
  10. Have fun!– Students should leave your class feeling that math, science, reading, writing, etc. can be fun so that they continue the exploration and learning outside your class!

View the recorded presentation at Youtube.com/watch?v=W9s5JZD2i7k

Challenge: Try any of these tips and share them with the other teachers in the building! Click here for a free pdf to download and send.

More Resources

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Back to School, by shellyterrell

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may want to get your copy of The 30 Goals for Teachersor my $5.99 ebook, Learning to Go, which has digital/mobile activities for any device and editable/printable handouts and rubrics.

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What are your tips for surviving the first day, week, and month of school?

Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell is a teacher trainer, instructional designer, adjunct professor, and the author of The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers: Small Steps to Transform Your Teaching and Learning to Go: Lesson Ideas for Teaching with Mobile Devices, Cell Phones and BYOT. She has been recognized by the ELTon Awards, The New York Times, the Ministry of Education in Spain, and Microsoft’s Heroes for Education as an innovator in the movement of teacher-driven professional development and education technology. Recently, she was named Woman of the Year 2014 by Star Jone’s National Association of Professional Women and awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, the Twitter chat that spurred over 400 teacher chats. She has trained teachers and taught learners in over 25 countries and has consulted with organizations worldwide such as UNESCO Bangkok, The European Union aPLaNet Project, Cultura Iglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, and VenTESOL. She shares regularly via TeacherRebootCamp.com, Twitter (@ShellTerrell), and Facebook.com/shellyterrell. Her greatest joy is being the mother of Rosco the pug.

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