As I write this it is mid week during winter break. I know, the hibernation feels like a relief! Sweatpants, slipper socks, drinking coffee while it’s hot, and messy buns ALL. WEEK. LONG!
As we head back to school next week, there are sure to be some bumps in the road. Our students are just as used to the break as we are. They forgot how to sharpen pencils, sit in their seats, raise their hands, share… all the things. It’s not a surprise that classroom management might be a struggle this New Year!
Here are a few tips I have that have helped me to get through January after a long winter break.
1. Review classroom management routines like it’s the first week of school.
This is the most important tip. I put it first on the list because your classroom routines and student behaviors really do influence the ability for the class to make progress on all of the academic tasks you’ve got planned!
Dust off those beginning of the year anchor charts and get back to the basics. Explicitly talk about and practice routines and transitions throughout the day. Make sure you’re plugging this time into your plan book, because it really will take some time and make a difference.
If you’ve reviewed these expectations and you’re still having the chatty class problem, check out this post about what you can do when you have a noisy class and “shhh” isn’t working!
2. Set a wellness promise… not a resolution-
It’s so tempting to set productivity resolutions at the beginning of each year. These types of goals often have me losing sleep and tripping over my own feet. Truth be told, they are the last thing I need to step into the new year on the right foot. There is already so much to keep up with.
Make a teacher wellness promise instead. One year, my promise to myself was to to leave 2 days a week at the contractual end of day time. That meant letting things go. It meant sometimes letting the bulletin board stay bare for an extra day, not totally organizing my desk before leaving, or closing my door during planning time to have a super efficient during that short 30 minutes. This goal was my reminder that most importantly, I needed to be home with my family more than any of those work related tasks I might be letting go with my wellness goal. Maybe for you it’s leaving early, maybe it’s getting a massage or pedicure monthly, or maybe it’s starting small and not bringing work home one weekend a month. Think about a way to take some time back for you!
3. Say YES to help!
It’s hard to say yes to favors and help sometimes. If you’re like me, it sometimes feels easier in the moment to do things myself. I feel like I am supposed to be doing it all and asking for a hand might mean I’m not doing a good job. Logically I know none of those things are true, but I definitely have to make an effort to say “yes please” when a colleague offers to grab my copies off the printer, or make a lunchtime coffee run. The thing is, even small favors can make a big difference.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy freebie to kick of the new year and you want to say YES To that sort of help, check out this printable New Year Booklet!
4. Say no to things you can’t take on-
This is going to be an ongoing problem because teachers, by nature, tend to be super giving and want to help all the time. It’s good! It’s so good until it depletes you and steals your time away from you. Take this small blurb as permission and a reminder to say no to that committee you just don’t have time for!
5. Set and review routines for problem solving-
Students tend to become sort of like siblings the more the year goes on. The bickering starts. They get on each other’s nerves. This is a great time to establish routines for problem solving with peers cooperatively. While I use this routine from the beginning of the year, it really really came in handy in the second half of the year.
I’m wishing you the best new year and I hope that it’s everything you’ve dreamed of, and some quiet peaceful moments too!