Professional Learning

Are You Ready for the New School Year?

August 11, 2015 Updated August 10, 2015

As we get ready to begin a new school year, we think about what things need to get done. Is my classroom ready? What will my first day with the students look like? Is my teaching aligning with the district's vision for the upcoming school year? All of these things are important, but in all the back-to-school madness, we often times tend to forget the little things that will enable us to have a successful school year. 

As you plan for the new school year, take time to think about these tips.

1. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Challenge yourself. Do what is best for the students, not what is easiest for you. Has there been something you have been wanting to try? Possibly flipping your classroom or taking a risk to try that new innovative idea. Whatever it is, if it will enhance student learning, go out on the limb and try it. It is worth it for your students' sake.

2. Bring Positive Energy into Meetings

We all know that person who does nothing but complain and look for the negative in everything. Be a positive leader. Look for the good in situations. Bring a positive vibe to colleagues. Once you bring that energy, others will quickly follow.

3. Welcome Change

Most of the time, we have no control over decisions made. Change can be a great thing. Don't focus on the past, look at the present and plan for the fuure. Think about why change is happening and seek ways it can help improve student learning. 

4. Remain Upbeat About All Your Students

"ALL means ALL". Don't look for excuses for why a student isn't performing. Look for solutions. We need to believe ALL of our students can achieve.

5. Stay Away From Gossip

Don't waste your time on the unecessary things. Nothing is worse than being caught up in the rumor mill. Instead of gossiping, fill that time focusing on student learning or building positive relationships with your colleagues.

6. Take Care of Yourself

You can't be productive if you aren't healthy or worse, burnt out. What makes you feel relaxed? Set aside time for yourself, doing things you enjoy outside of education.

7. Maintain a Growth Mindset

Things can improve. If things are tough, brainstorm solutions. Look for the positive in every situation and believe everyone is capable of achieving.

8. Lead by Example

Don't wait for others. If you know something needs to be done, do it. Everyone has the ability to be a leader. Our students need all of us to be successful. Regardless of title, remember it takes a village.

9. Seek Ways to Collaborate

We can achieve a lot more as a team. Extend your personal learning network. Plan with colleagues. Take courses. Participate in Twitter Chats. There are a variety of ways you can continue life-long learning.

10. Have Fun!

Make sure you enjoy what you are doing. Don't be afraid to laugh with your students. When your students see you are passionate, they will be more likely buy into what you are teaching. Plus, no one enjoys a grumpy teacher.

Most important, as eager kids begin trickling through our school doors, never forget they are the reason why we are all here. Always keep their interests first. Best of luck to each of you in the upcoming school year!

This piece was originally submitted to our community forums by a reader. Due to audience interest, we’ve preserved it. The opinions expressed here are the writer’s own.

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