Monday, February 16, 2015

10 Things That Make my Teaching Life Easier {In no particular order}





1.  Planbook



I know I have mentioned Planbook.com on my blog many times - but that just illustrates how in love with it I am.  Honestly, I know I said this list is random; but Planbook has been such a life saver and TIME saver I may have subconsciously put it at number 1 for a reason!  I can do lesson plans from my phone, in bed, at the doctor's office...wherever.  You can see that I have a lot of specifics in my daily plans.  That's so  if I ever have an unplanned guest teacher - everything they need to know about the daily in's and out's of our day are there. I can easily email my plans to my colleagues and I am able to see my friend's daily plans {they have to give you "the key"} which is so helpful if I need a little help with where I want to go next or get ideas for how I want to teach a concept.

2.  A Great Coffee Mug

I have tried every travel coffee mug known to man!  This one is, by far, the BEST!  HA! You bet this makes my teaching life easier.  My coffee is still warm after lunch {I teach first grade - I don't get it all sucked down before lunch!} and you can drop this thing and it doesn't even get a dent...and no spills {No more coffee stained teachers guides, student work, clothing!}.  

3.  Instagram


I know it's nothing new - but it remains a constant in my life.  Need a quick motivator, either personally or professionally?  This is where I go!  Open the app and it's instant PD. {Professional Development/Personal Development}
  

4.  Friends
My teaching life is SO much easier with friends to talk with, laugh with, vent to, plan with, have professional conversations with, to LISTEN to me, the list goes on and on.  What would I do without my friends?  My students love them too!  I can't think of a better gift to give to my students then the gift of knowing their teacher is a human being!  It's these moments, when your teacher friends come in to sing to your class, your students will remember! {me too}

5.  Laughter
See above!  I don't know if you know this about me - I think I've blogged about it before - but I love a good practical joke, a costume to wake up my kiddos and put a sparkle back in their tired little eyes...if you're ever feeling like the burden of our profession is weighing you down...give yourself a good belly laugh {or somebody else} and that load will lighten just a bit.


6.  An Early Special
You probably don't have any control over this; but if you are ever asked for input on when your grade level wants their special {i.e. music, art, p.e.} I suggest the first slot! {If it's not TOO early}  Our day is broken up so nicely.  We teach for about 40 minutes {just enough time to get our day started and do calendar} then they are off to their special {and I can gather my thoughts for the rest of the morning}.  We also have a later lunch so we are able to really hunker down for reader's workshop. Our afternoon is a bit shorter with the later lunch which is also helpful because we all know their attention wanes as the day goes on.

7.  GoNoodle - Speaking of waning attention spans...our afternoons might be short, but brain breaks are a lifesaver.  Just think of yourself at a LONG day of professional development...you'd welcome a chance to get up and get moving! Consider it an investment in your students' learning.



8.  Growing Our Village Together
Instagram, Facebook, becoming a lab classroom {letting others come in and watch you in action}, going into other teachers' classrooms, blogging, reaching out to others, encouraging others, opening yourself up to others...growing your village only makes you stronger.  You can't do this alone - nor should you.  You're not perfect - nor should you be.  The more people invested in your personal/professional growth and the more people you help or encourage - the better.  As nervous as it makes me; I like to open my classroom up to other teachers and I SO appreciate it when other teachers open their classrooms up to ME! Just as soon as I walk into those rooms I feel hopeful and validated. I see things that I do too and I think "okay, I'm doing that, they are doing that, this is good" or I find an idea that is just pure genius and nab it!





9.  A Cute Spiral Bound
I tried keeping notes on my iPad - it looked cool, it looked like I had it going on.  It just didn't work for me.  Instead, I have a cute spiral bound to keep my reader's workshop and writer's workshop conferring notes.  I know...in this day and age I should be all "paperless" and "techie"...I tried.  It didn't work.  Add a cute notebook...and I'm all "Mistress of Note Taking"...



10. Prayer & Inspiration
I've always prayed but was pretty random about it.  I've made more of a concerted effort to pray before school {in the car - on the way} and after school {in the car - on the way home}.  It's more like a conversation and I do it while listening to Joel Osteen.  I realize this may not be your thing...but if there's something you can do in your car to find peace...I say give it a go. I don't even notice traffic now because I'm just chatting away ... thank goodness for "blue tooth" {which I don't have} I'm going to hope that the person in the car next to me thinks I'm chatting it up on the phone...but hey, who cares what they think!?!

It's easy to fall victim to a negative attitude - I have my ups and downs for sure!  That's why I seek out teachers who are able to hold on tight to why they do what they do and have made it their personal & professional mission to ensure that other teachers stay positive.  One of those teachers is Sarah, from A Rocky Top Teacher who posts Monday's Moment where she aims to inspire and motivate fellow teachers.

I did her sticky note challenge...


...which was just as much for those teachers at my school as it was for me.  Writing on those sticky notes and then sneaking them into teacher mailboxes just made me smile and I carried that warmth with me for the rest of the day.  Need to get rid of some stinkin' thinkin'?  Give it a try!  Check out Sarah's Monday's Moment for more ways to feel good about what you do!

What makes your teaching life easier?   I would love for you to share!  Who knows, you may just share something that makes a huge difference in a fellow teacher's life!

9 comments:

  1. Love your post. I know prayer is essential, and I've often heard other teachers talk about how they pray for the students in their class, pray over their table/desk area, etc. Not being a morning person, prayer is usually the last thing on my mind in the morning. It's a struggle just to be awake and minimally functioning. :) But just recently due to some tragic news and wondering how I can be a positive agent of change, I made a conscience decision to pray for my students and their families. My goal is to pray for them at least once or twice a week. Thanks for confirming that decision with the thoughts you shared in #10!

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    1. At my old school we used to do a prayer walk before the start of the school year and as necessary throughout the school year. I need to pray more for my students as well!

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  2. The title of your post caught my eye! A team member and I were talking the other day about ways we can eliminate some of our stress and help to make our lives a little better! Your ideas are spot on! I have had an early special in the past and I loved it. This year we have ours at the end of the day and I am not a fan! Exercise is another thing I do to make my teaching life easier. Exercising helps eliminate my stress from school!
    Miss King's Enchanted Kingdom

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    1. Oh yes! Exercise...that's a must! When I'm not exercising I feel so lethargic and it makes it harder to manage the stresses of our every day teaching lives!

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  3. Love the early special time... my Firsties have special at 9:30. Just enough time to do some morning work and then they're off for 40 minutes. I can check folders/homework/do attendance and prepare for the rest of the day. It also gives us almost 2 hours for our literacy block when they return!

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    1. Yup - that's exactly why I like it too! I used to think that special first thing would stink - but I now ask for it!!!!

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  4. I love your posts! I find it interesting that you like to use a digital planbook, but still prefer to take conference notes manually. :) I still like to write my plans in my EC planbook, but the digital program is worth looking at. Finally, if you're a lab classroom, I would LOVE to come for a day and observe. I always feel like I get rejuvenated after watching another teacher in action, and I know I will learn things, too.
    - Kelly :)

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    1. Ha - thanks! I know, I make no sense - right? I also have a big 'ol calendar that I keep all of our dates in. I can't stand to keep track of dates on my phone. I'm a walking, talking, living contradiction...I own it!

      I'm a lab classroom my for my district - but wouldn't that be fun if you came to my school and then I came to yours?!? Think we can make that work?

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  5. Thanks for an engaging post! I need to check out the planbook. I'm the only first grade teacher at my school, but thankfully I have a rockin' kindergarten teacher right next door! I agree that prayer is a must. Thanks for the encouragement. Blessings!

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