It’s summer and I’m a teacher. Time to forget about school for two months and be completely present in my restful restorative summer vacation right? Not quite. But close.
Here’s where I’m at with this thought process. I do need to do better about leaving school and really really leaving mentally and enjoying my time off. Oh yes, that is the dream. The problem with this mentality is the lack of planning. When I go into a school year without much preplanning, or into a week without much planning, I suffer tremendously when I get started. This is how I end up with Monday morning blues, anxious, flustered overwhelmed transitions, stressful lessons, etc. Yes, failure to plan is a plan to fail.
Side note but on topic– Do you know who I want to be like? One of my favorite pianists Young Min You who says “I LOVE MONDAYS!” I want to be that happy. I mean, who loves Mondays? See, planning and simplicity can get us there!
I may not want to spend every day of my summer vacation planning for the school year but I am planning. I’m planning simply.
Have you learned what your favorite tools are in your classroom? These tools include lesson plan structures, classroom rituals, habits, supplies, etc. Have you ever browsed Pinterest and collected 100s of ideas that you’ll either never look at again or will take you hours to implement? Me too. I don’t want to do that.
So this year I will pick a few favorite things in each category (Lesson Activities, Resources To Use, Classroom Rituals, Student Jobs, Fast Finisher Tasks, Procedures) and ditch the rest. I’m going to KonMari my method of teaching and keep my desk tidy. I will spend less time prepping and more time enjoying teaching. So whatever tasks will help me reach that goal, that’s what I’ll do. If I find that anything I’m doing in the classroom is too tedious, I will change it to be more simple as long as it’s still effective with the kids. Keep it simple.
My classroom is not going to be overly decorated. I’m going to have a decorated bulletin board and a wall map (in matching size) at the back wall of my classroom. The front wall will have a calendar, a clock, and the 4 main class rules in simple bold dark letters. My agenda for each lesson will be in a powerpoint or google slide to project so that what we are currently focused on is up and the rest is hidden until we need it. There is one and only one wall space for displaying student work that will change consistently. Lastly I will have one board for Daily 5 procedures and 1 small chart for clean up jobs since we do that every day. That is it. Since there is a lot of white wall in the room I hung some fake plants in simple planters a few places to add calming greenery and hominess without overwhelming the room with posters and stimulating things to be looking at. Kids are already distracted; I don’t want to add to it by making my wall and their space too busy. I’m excited about how clean and lovely it will feel in my teaching space.
So my plan this summer will be to create my simple yet all inclusive lesson planner template. I am anticipating that the time I invest in planning a lesson planner this summer will give me a time return every week this school. By not recreating my planner every week or having too much to plan (because I’ll have procedures for each subject that are consistent and cut down on my planning time overall), I will give myself back 30-60 minutes every week. When I finish my template, I’ll be loading it onto to Teachers Pay Teachers and it will not only save me time but it will save YOU time if you get it.
Let’s do this together. Let’s keep it simple. Have you noticed the convenience of social media gives us 500 more ideas and makes us busier and more stressed? Have you tried entering the world of TPT and like me found out that there is a drive to match all the cutesy trends? Trends like if you don’t buy new fonts and clipart you can’t make a dime. I get that; people have found what sells so they are all doing it. It seems like it gets more and more complicated but does it have to be? I don’t think so. If you’re work is good; people who need it will recognize the quality. There’s a lot more to that and running a business means work so I’m not suggesting I want to do everything easier in regards to my shop–I’m just saying that I’m looking for simplicity and if you are too that’s what you’ll get from me.
I like simple. I haven’t always aimed for it but I’m happier when I do. So this year that’s my theme and I’m sticking to it.