Back to School Survival

The first few days (weeks) of school can be pure chaos! Teacher tired is so real! And it's so unpredictable. You may think you are prepared and then a new student moves in, or you end up managing a severe behavior issue, or get called in to assist with another student, etc., etc., etc.  One little bump can throw everything off and next thing you know, you're sitting at your desk at the end of the day crying. I may know this from personal experience. Here are a few suggestions for surviving those first few weeks.


Have a backup plan. Or two. I like to have a ton of extra activities prepped and ready to use in case something doesn't go as planned. Task cards and center activities are my go to when things get crazy in my classroom, which is bound to happen the first few weeks of school. I especially love using these differentiated counting task cards or differentiated functional task cards (grab this free set!) because I can use them with all of my students, at their level. They are easy to use and my paras can assist students if I am dealing with a behavior issue or having a conversation with another teacher or parent. I put a bin out on my file cabinet with activities and switch them out as we use them.


Build relationships & rapport first. I love the quote, "Kids don't learn from people they don't like." During the first few weeks of school, spend the time to build positive relationships with each of your students.  Use the honeymoon period to your advantage! That way, when behavior issues do arise, you've already established yourself as a reinforcer. Get to know your students and what they like and don't like. Also, help your paras do this as well. It's just as important that they have relationships with the students!


Teach and practice routines and procedures. And then practice some more! If you spend the time from day 1 explicitly teaching your expectations, you will save yourself from the frustration of a poorly run classroom! Students need to know what to do, when to do it, and how. Teach each routine, practice it, and then practice it again. I like to have my students pretend to be the teacher- especially when we are practicing noise levels. They love to be in front of the class and it's a great way to check their understanding of the routine or procedure. I also teach a quiet signal in my classroom. It's been a life saver! You can grab a set of my Give Me 5 posters here. Or grab this set for free! I also love doing this classroom rule sort!

Find a support person. The first few weeks are hard. Teaching is hard. Find a teacher friend to vent and problem solve with. For me, it's helpful to have someone else who understands what teaching is really like and who can help give you ideas if you're struggling!

Self care is essential. You can't take care of others unless you're taking care of yourself first. Take a bubble bath, watch a favorite show on Netflix, spend time with your family, do what you need to do and don't feel guilty. Need some self care ideas? Check out this post from Sarah, The Designer Teacher.

Hang in there and remember that it gets easier! And let me know- what do you do to survive the first few weeks of school?



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