16 July 2015

ICYMI - Surviving the Back to School Rush

I've spent about 4 days working in my classroom so far, and I'll definitely be spending a few more days in there next week before teachers officially go back on the 27th.

Today, Andrew spent his day off helping me. His first words as he walked in? "Don't take this the wrong way...but it looks worse!" And ya know what? He's right! It's a process though, right? It always looks worse before it looks better :)

I put him to work, and he sharpened about 587 pencils, hung bulletin board borders, made me laugh, and kept me company. I married a winner for sure. Swoon. While I could dote on my sweet guy for the length of this post, that's not actually what I'm sharing today.

Last summer, I shared some tips for keeping sane during the crazy back to school rush. Well guess what, the rush is upon us (or maybe it's just me), and I thought I'd share the tips again!
There are about 6,395 things to do. I'm not even going to give you examples because I'd probably have a panic attack. The reality is that I can't get EVERYTHING done. I have to pick and choose, and decide what MUST be done prior to Sneak-a-Peek, and the first day of school.

I *try* to just keep one list going so that I don't lose the list, or find the need to make a list for my lists. Here's one I use that you can grab for free :)
Not everything has to be ready for the very first day of school. That's where prioritizing comes in. Decide what HAS to be done, and what can wait.

Here's a look at my math games (not everything is pretty, right?). They are a HOT MESS! But it's not something that I'm even remotely concerned about right now. I don't need them for sneak-a-peek, the first day of school, or even the first couple of weeks of school. (So maybe this is actually the picture from LAST year, but ya'll, I swear they look like this again.)
We say this to our students all the time, right? Well, we probably should take our own advice! 

I am very fortunate that I can get into my classroom prior to when teachers report back, but the school is only open Monday - Thursday during the summer. I know that sounds silly, but I have to make sure I'm not counting on having Fridays to also work in my room.

Part of using your time wisely is knowing what HAS to be done at school, and what you could do at home (if you choose). I don't tend to waste my time cutting out lamination at school. It's one of those mindless activities I don't mind doing while I binge watch an episode or two of something on Netflix. My time would be better spent setting up for Sneak-a-Peek, organizing my classroom library...something I don't want to or can't bring home.
I don't know about you, but I usually have lots of new ideas for the new school year including things I want to buy, decoration ideas, organization ideas, and who knows what else? It's hard to keep up, right?

Something that helps me keep track of all the things I find is by making a Pinterest Board! It's helpful to have one location where I can pin products, ideas, pictures...you name it. Are you following my back-to-school boards? Check them out below:

Follow True Life I'm a Teacher's board Classroom: First Days of School on Pinterest.

Follow True Life I'm a Teacher's board Classroom: Open House/Back to School Night/Conferences on Pinterest.

Follow True Life I'm a Teacher's board Classroom: Decor on Pinterest.

Follow True Life I'm a Teacher's board Classroom: Organization on Pinterest.

Follow True Life I'm a Teacher's board 2015-2016 on Pinterest.
Each new school year there are things I need/want to buy. It might be because something broke (damn you pencil sharpeners), new decor, or just because Target puts out new teachery stuff in their dollar section and I can't resist (damn you, Target - just kidding, I love you.).

Checking weekly ads though is helpful, especially for things like school supplies. Shop around, find a deal, and don't be afraid to ask if they have any specials or discounts for teachers. I don't really use the teacher card often, but B2S is not the time to be shy.
As teachers start coming back to work in their classrooms, there inevitably are shelves, tables, chairs, desks, supplies, and so on that teachers don't want anymore. Usually, teachers put this stuff in the hallways with signs on them indicating they don't want them anymore. 

If you see something you like or need, pop your head inside their classroom, and ASK that it is in fact up for grabs, and then get it to your classroom. Also, my school places supplies that are up for grabs in the teacher work room. If you don't have one at your school, start one! You'd be surprised what will wind up on that table!

Before summer, this was sitting in a TRASH pile in the hall. I mean, I get it - the easel/chalkboard part was look a little sad. But I was fairly certain it was an easy fix so I pushed it to my classroom.
Within 10 minutes the wonky easel was gone, and I had a new to me shelf! Voila! I'm thinking a good sanding, and a fun color will make this shelf pure perfection!
What do you do to help maintain your sanity during back to school?

For more great ideas, tips, and tricks from True Life I’m a Teacher, be sure to follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Bloglovin’ and Teachers Pay Teachers.

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