How to plan and pack healthy teacher lunches

How to plan and pack healthy teacher lunches

In all my years as a teacher, packing lunch has never been a priority. I never know what to pack for lunch outside of leftovers. Lately, my go-to lunch has been salad kits. They are super easy but then I’m left eating salad every single day at lunch and I’m not a big fan of the same food every day. Plus a salad isn’t as filling and then I’m more susceptible to saying yes when there are other treats available. If I could make healthy, filling lunches each day it would save me time and calories. That’s why I’ve asked my friend and wellness coach, Marija Crosson, to share some of her best tips for packing healthy lunches for school.

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What makes for a great lunch

Lunch is the meal that has to sustain us the longest throughout the day.  I use the following ratio as a guide to make that happen:

  • I always start with 50% veggies to make me full. I shoot for 2-3 cups of greens and/or raw/roasted veggies. For greens, try arugula, kale, mesclun, and spinach. For roasted veggies, try broccoli or cauliflower. For raw veggies, try bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, or cucumber.
  • Then, I incorporate 25% protein to help keep me full longer. I shoot for a ½-1 cup of eggs and dairy, chicken, turkey, beef, pork, game, seafood, or plant-based protein. For meat and fish, try shredded chicken, ground turkey, baked salmon, or canned tuna.
  • The last 25% of my plate is fiber-filled carbohydrates to give me sustained energy. I shoot for ½-1 cup starchy veggies, beans, and legumes, or whole grains. For starchy veggies, try roasting acorn squash, butternut squash, or sweet potatoes. For beans and legumes, try black beans, garbanzo beans, or lentils. For whole grains, try brown rice, farro, whole grain pasta, or quinoa. When choosing processed and packaged carbohydrates, look for at least 1 gram fiber for every 10 g total carbs
  • Then I add in 1-2 accessories to make the meal pop with flavor. I shoot for 2-4 T of healthy fats/dressing/sauce/condiments. Try avocado, cheese, nuts, seeds, or vinaigrette.

Salads, bowls, and stir-frys fit this approach really well. You can use the above ratio to create your own combos but if you prefer to cook from a recipe, my favorite meal prep lunches come from the following food blogs: Ambitious Kitchen, Eating Bird Food, Fit Foodie Finds, Love Leaf Co, and Our Balanced Bowl. I think it’s helpful to build up a master list of recipes you’d like to try so then each week, the research is already done for you.

I used to organize my recipes in a Pinterest board but found it cumbersome to cook from. Recently, I’ve fallen in love with the Paprika Recipe Manager. It’s the best $4.99 that I’ve ever spent on an app. You can store, categorize and rate recipes, create shopping lists directly from a given recipe and also map out what meals you’re eating on which day. But even more than that, I love how each recipe has an ingredients tab and a directions tab, making it a breeze to keep track of where you are while you cook.

Big picture planning

I’ve learned that a little bit of strategy before jumping into this process goes a long way.  

When it comes to planning, ask yourself:

“Would I rather eat the same thing every day?” → {choose one recipe} or

“Would I rather mix things up?” → {choose 2-3 recipes to alternate across the week}.

When it comes to prepping, ask yourself:

“Would I rather have a bigger prep once? –> {on Saturday/Sunday/Monday for the week} or “Would I rather have a smaller prep twice {on Sat/Sun for the next 2-3 days and then mid-week for the last 2-3 days}

Having the right gear also makes this process a lot easier.  There is nothing worse than a lunch that spills all over your bag. And after my fair share of tests (and ruined bags), here are my favorites:

Option 1: Ball mason jars

  • I like using the wide mouth quart sized mason jars for salads and bowls

Option 2: Snapware glass containers or Sterlite Ultra-Seal plastic containers

  • I like using the 2 cup rectangular container for plain Greek yogurt + fruit or quinoa salad
  • I like using the 4 cup square container for stir-fry, salads, and bowls

When trying to decide how many to buy, a question worth asking yourself is:

“Would I rather save time and energy?” → {Buy multiple containers so you can pack them at one time} or

“Would I rather save money?” → Buy one container and keep the prepped ingredients separate in the fridge to assemble the night before.

Weekly Planning

On Thursday or Friday, I look at my weekend and what we have going on, then block out three chunks of time into my schedule.  During the first block, I sit down to plan out my meals for the week by looking at my master list of recipes and deciding what I want to eat that week.  I then make my grocery list by cross-checking the ingredient list with the items I already have in my kitchen.

During the second block, I go grocery shopping or place my order online. Did you know that if you are an Amazon Prime member, you get free 2-hour delivery through Whole Foods?  Check to see if they deliver in your area. It has helped us save a lot of time. Another good option is Instacart – they partner with local grocery stores to also deliver your groceries. Most local grocery stores now have a delivery or order online with pick up service.

During the third block, I cook the recipes and portion them out into my lunch containers. Each night, I pack everything (silverware included) into my lunchbox and put it into the fridge. Then it’s super easy to grab and go in the morning!

Benefits of packing

Incorporating even just a few of these meal planning and prepping tips will help you save money, time, and mental energy.  It will also help you increase your energy so that you can thrive throughout the school day. How good would it feel to simplify nutrition so that you can focus on what matters most?


Marija Crosson lives in Philadelphia with her husband Michael and son Owen. She is a literacy coach who supports K-3rd grade teachers with curriculum and instruction. She is also a virtual health and wellness coach who helps high performing women feel good from the inside out. Find more tips and tricks follow her on Instagram and join the conversation on Facebook If you would like to participate in one of her boot camps or have questions, contact Marija at marijacrossonwellness@gmail.com

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3 Ways to Help Your Child Be a Better Reader

3 Ways to Help Your Child Be a Better Reader

Parents ask me all the time, “How can I help my child be a better reader?” “What can I do at home to help my child be a better reader?” The simplest answer to this question is READ. Read with them. Read to them. Read a page then have them read a page. READ. READ. READ. Let them see you reading, even if it’s the newspaper, magazines or work emails. Show them that reading is a life skill. This really helps them to understand why it’s important to learn reading skills.

When we discuss reading accountability at the start of the school year I share an infographic with students that illustrates the importance of reading. It explains that reading for at least 20 minutes a day during the school year will expose them to over a million words. Exposure to words is how we all get better at reading. Vocabulary is key. Knowing the meaning of words allows us to comprehend what we read. Knowing strategies for figuring out unknown words while we read is also a skill good readers possess.

Reading 20 minutes every night can increase word power and this leads to a multitude of benefits.

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So the simplest way to become a better reader is to practice it. Just like any other skill. Professional football players still show up to practice because even they can become better at their game. (Unless you play for the Browns!) I share a personal example with the kids that demonstrates even really good readers still need to look up unknown words.

When I read Wonder I had never heard the word precept before; I understood the concept from the story but had never known the meaning of the word.  Once I looked it up I realized that my understanding was slightly off and with the true meaning I understood the author’s intent more clearly. Has this ever happened to you? Share that with your child or students. Show them there is always an opportunity to learn new words.

Parents these tips and resources are for you to help your child become a better reader. Reading at home is an important way to help students increase their reading skills. These reading strategies, apps, and websites will help parents help their children practice reading at home.

While reading at home is an important way to become better at reading it’s not the only way to help increase reading skills. Here are 3  activities to practice with reading, as well as a few websites and apps that can help.

1. Depth of Knowledge

The simplest comprehension questions ask us to recall important facts. If we can read something and then share the important parts then we have successfully comprehended the story. However, students often struggle to determine what’s important and what’s just part of the story. Characters and their actions that move the story forward are important. If a character stops to buy candy at the gas station it could be to show us that they have a sweet tooth, or share insight to the setting, or to have them interact with another important character. If they simply stop to buy candy and move on then there isn’t much important in that. However, students who connect to behaving similarily can feel like it should be important when it’s not.

Ask your child to recall the important parts of the story from the chapter or section that they just read. If it sounds like it may not be important to the overall story probe them for why they feel that was an important part. If they can defend it to show significance this is great practice for comprehension.

Being able to articulate why a character made a decision or acted in the way they did helps students see the big picture.

2. Vocabulary

If students are reading out loud and stumble on a word saying it for them is good. But then ask if they know what it means. Sometimes we just need to hear a word in order to recognize it; making exposure to words such a vital part of becoming a better reader. If they can’t tell you the meaning ask them if the context around the word can help them figure it out. Still unsure or can’t figure it out? Looking up the word in the dictionary is necessary.  Find a place in the house where you can write these words so your child will see them daily that can also help. It takes several times seeing a word and thinking about what it means before we add it to long-term memory.

A few websites that are good for simple word practice include:

FreeRice.com

Vocabulary.com *also has an app called PowerVocab

There are also several phone apps that are free word games. Any word game that is not just spelling words will help increase vocabulary. One that is great for middle school is called The World’s Worst Pet. It’s a strange name for an app, but it has helpful games to learn new words. You can also choose the level of words and increase as kids gain more knowledge.

3. Reading Websites

There are several websites that provide reading practice for kids whether they are in a classroom or at home. Often they require a login and have paid versions, but they also usually allow for free features as well. Here are some of my favorite sites:

ReadWorks.org is geared towards teachers, but their Article-A-Day option is great for at home practice. Many of the sites are geared towards teachers who use these in their classrooms, but it’s just as easy for a parent to set up an account.

FunBrain.com is a great site for books online and reading games. They offer searches by grade level from Pre-K to 8. There are also vocabulary games as well as other subject areas available.

LearnOutLoud.com is a great place to find free audiobooks. Titles are mostly classic books, but those can be very exciting. When listening to an audiobook it is always best to have the physical book to look at while listening. This helps kids engage with the vocabulary.

Newsela.com is a current event website that allows students to read nonfiction at their level. The site is geared for teachers to use in their classrooms, but this can be accessed at home as well. You will need to create an account to access the content. Although it’s not the site’s intent, parents can easily create an educator account and add their child or children to a class you call Home. If your child’s teacher is already using this site then ask if they would assign articles for your child to practice at home.

There is a navigation tool on the left that allows you to choose a child’s level by grade and then narrow by skill. If your child’s teacher has expressed a specific area they need to practice this is a great way to zero in on that particular skill. Kids can search for a topic that is of interest to them, which will help them engage with the reading. After each article, there is a quiz for students to take. You can track their progress in your account and celebrate their growth!

Finding support for helping our older children be better readers can often be a difficult task. There is a plethora of support for young, emergent readers but there are very few options to help our tweens and teens. It’s assumed that by the time they get to be this age they are fluent readers, but that’s not always the case. Books can often be a turn off for older students if they haven’t been able to find one they enjoy. The resources above should help to make reading easier for them and an activity they can hopefully enjoy. If you’re looking for popular book suggestions here are 50 for the secondary student.

Teacher friends, share your greatest resources that you suggest to help parents help their children.

Moms, what is your child’s greatest struggle with reading? Share the strategies you’ve used at home that have helped. Want to receive great mom resources and freebies straight to your inbox? Drop your email in the form below.

 

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Back to School Organization Tips from a Teacher and a Parent

Back to School Organization Tips from a Teacher and a Parent

Summer is winding down and the stores have already stocked the shelves with school supplies. This will be my first school supply shopping trip where I will need to follow a list not created by me. My son is entering preschool in the fall. It’s adorable how he tells people he’s going to work but he really means school. #teacherparentproblems  

Because this is my first time starting the school year as a teacher and a parent of one school-aged child things are a little different. My entire morning routine is going to change. The first week or two I’ll be running on those start of the school year fumes. But eventually the teacher tired is going to set in and my son’s new sleeping schedule will make him irritable making us all want to press snooze. This is why I’m putting together a Make Over Your Mornings email challenge that will begin after the Labor Day holiday. You can learn more about it by signing up below.

Organizing my mornings will only be part of what needs to change. Thankfully we won’t be looking at any homework time in the evenings with a preschooler, but some of you may be in the same boat of added “to dos” this school year. As a middle school teacher, I’m well aware of the changes that come with students starting school-sponsored sports teams. The added amount of homework. An increase in the number of academic classes and teachers to student schedules. All of these are big changes for kids, and for parents.

This is why I have teamed up with my friend Amy from Organization Boutique. As a parent of middle schoolers herself and an expert on organizing, Amy shares how parents can prepare for life in middle school. My added teacher perspective ensures you can feel confident and ready for the changes that come with starting middle school.

Practical advice from a teacher and a parent to help start the school year organized.

Why Students Need Organizational Skills

Look at how many people are searching for time management tips. It’s so much easier to learn when you are younger and have fewer responsibilities. Not to mention how it can prepare for high school, college and beyond. Many job postings want to hire people with strong organization skills. Parents and teachers can’t always remind them of what needs to get done and how to do it. Taking on responsibilities helps build self-esteem and confidence.

Organizational Skills = More Efficient + Less stress

Time Management Skills for Students

Teacher Advice: Start with the class schedule. Most districts offer a time for students to walk their new schedule. Specifically, the incoming grade that is new to the building. This is a great time for students to familiarize themselves with the school building. Take notice of the distance between classes and the student’s locker. Students should work out the times they will have to stop at their locker and which materials they will take with them at each stop.

Buying materials for middle school might look a lot different than elementary. There really aren’t a lot of supplies needed. Teachers may ask for items they will collect and use as a community supply rather than expecting students to keep track of them individually. So stick to the list! Avoid your child having extra materials that might be distracting during class time or clutter their lockers.

Parent Advice: Use a paper or digital calendar/planner to plan long-term projects and keep track of activities outside of school. Have your child schedule out their school hours, activities, chores, and any other planned events. This will help them see how much free time they have so they know where the best time to schedule homework and anything else that comes up. Have them follow the schedule for a week and then talk about how it went and make any needed adjustments.  Keep doing this on a weekly basis until they are confident in their planning skills.

Stop procrastination in its track!  Many parents have been up until midnight helping their student finish a project they just started that evening even though they knew about it a month before.  Teach your child to plan in advance. Have your child write out all the steps they will need to take to complete a long-term assignment, then schedule each step by putting it on their calendar with a deadline.

Don’t be the alarm for your kids.  This may take a lot of time and effort depending on your child’s personality.  Some are naturally early risers and don’t have a problem waking with an alarm. Others are heavy sleepers or slow to wake and may need an extra loud alarm clock or to have the alarm across the room to avoid snooze.

Organizational Skills = More Efficient + Less stress Click To Tweet

Lockers

Teacher Advice: You might be a teacher if you roll your eyes while walking down the locker decorations isle. Seriously, why do kids need carpet in their lockers? Ok, the chandelier lights are kind of cute and much more practical. The shelves that you can add are definitely a great idea! I also like the magnetic containers for holding loose pens or pencils.

Some schools, like mine, provide a color coding system for class folders. This makes it easier to organize the locker by placing materials in the order they will be needed. For example, if books, folders, and notebooks are placed together, spine facing out vertically, in the order of class period from left to right students can keep them in that order throughout the day. Each time they grab a set of materials from the left they should return them to the right. This will cycle materials keeping them in order. Using a strategy like this from the start will hopefully keep the locker clean and homework where it belongs.

Parent Advice:  Learn from my mistake – buy a locker shelf to help organize the locker.  When attending the orientation day before school starts, most of the locker prep revolves around learning the combination and adding decorative accessories.  Students don’t have all their books yet so it’s just putting some supplies in there. I didn’t really think about how much other stuff needed to be stored in the locker and my son’s binders and folders were destroyed because he needed to stack so much in it.  He literally brought one “binder” home at the end of the year and it was just the front cover.

Extra Clothes and Lunches

Teacher Advice: Most schools will provide or suggest students keep a daily agenda. It’s a good idea to mark each day that will require Gym clothes or sports practice clothing. Especially considering these are not always year-long activities. Seasons change, quarters change. It’s important to have these dates marked ahead of time.

Another question to ask on Open House nights is where to keep extra bags at school. For example, our football players have a special place to keep all their pads and equipment during the school day until it’s time for practice. If the bag isn’t going to fit in their locker find out what the expectation is for students.  

Lunchtime in middle school is often precious social time. Which is why teachers can find it effective to revoke this time as a way to motivate students to complete assignments or show better behavior in class. A working lunch doesn’t always need to be a punitive though. Encourage your child to talk about what lunch looks like for them. Everyday! It can change every day.

Parent Advice: Middle-schoolers should be responsible for remembering to take gym/sports clothes to school and to bring them home for washing.  Have your child create a checklist posted to the door they exit. It serves as a double-check that they have everything for school and after-school activities without you needing to remind them.

You may want your kids to plan out their outfit the night before or the beginning of the week. So far my kids have been pretty drama-free with clothing but I remember stressing out about school clothes. Pre-planning can help but it’s not a miracle-worker.  Sometimes preteen/teen hormones win.

Middle schoolers are old enough to be able to pack lunches on their own.  Just double check that it’s not filled with Doritos and Oreos!

Setting up lunch prep areas in the pantry and fridge with pre-portioned servings will help make packing lunches easier.  Your child can help prepare the portions at the beginning of the week. They are more likely to eat it if they’ve helped in the process.  

Homework Tips

Teacher Advice: Homework is a hot topic in many educational conversations right now. There are a number of schools that have created homework policies. Anything from expecting a specific amount per week to absolutely no homework should be assigned. My best advice here is to know what the homework policy is for your child. It might be a building policy or it might be that each teacher has their own. Be sure to pay attention to that first week of school papers or emails teachers are sending home. As an English teacher, I will plug here for reading every day, regardless of the homework assigned.

Reading 20 minutes every night can increase word power and this leads to a multitude of benefits.

A few questions to ask teachers: When is there time to complete unfinished assignments? Is this scheduled every day or does it need to be scheduled when needed? Some middle schools may still have study hall included in their master schedule. We do not. If students are behind on assignments and are not completing them at home they would need to schedule work time with that teacher. It might be before school or after school.

Parent Advice: Using a planning system will help your child identify time available for homework and plan out longer projects.  Just because they know they have time available, doesn’t guarantee they will actually do their homework. You still need to check in with your child about homework every day.  

It’s so important to have a distraction-free homework space.  Create a homework center at home, stocked with all the school supplies your kids need to complete homework.  Some supplies middle school students may need at home: pencils, erasers, pencil sharpener or extra lead for mechanical pencils, highlighters, colored pencils/markers, glue sticks, scissors.  

If you don’t already, have a rule that all school materials go back in the bookbag immediately after finishing homework. Don’t let their homework clutter the kitchen table or home office.  They will likely forget stuff at home if it’s not put away right away.

Interested in additional tips?  Check out How to Organize and Prepare for Back to School or Parents: How to help your middle schooler (and you) navigate this season

If you have any of your own advice that would help please share it in the comments. Good luck this school year!

 

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Overcome Teacher Mom Guilt

Overcome Teacher Mom Guilt

Hidden in the bathroom, you try to steal five minutes to take a moment to breathe and scroll through mindless social media when that teacher tired meme pops up mocking you. Teacher tired? Sure, but teacher-mom tired is more like it. The loss of two hours sleep from 2:32-4:38 am is more likely the culprit of my tired. A tiny knock with a powerful scream of “MaaaaMaaaa,” interrupts your thoughts on how tired you truly happen to be in this moment of rest. Now enter teacher mom guilt. You’ve just spent the day being fully present with everyone else’s children. When you open that door you will need to muster up the energy to be fully present with your children.

Being torn between your kids and students is a norm among teacher moms. These practical tips can help you change your mindset and eliminate the guilt associated with being a working teacher mom.

Teacher Mom Reality

Most nights I find myself wide awake at 11:00 pm, even if I had been nodding off a few hours ago while reading bedtime stories, I’m often up late at night. The quiet is what keeps me awake. No one is talking to me, my phone is not buzzing in emails or messages, there are no tiny fingers grasping my shirt; it’s the only time of day I have all to myself. After having two babies back to back my body has become used to the sleep deprivation and because the pregnancy or new mom fog has lifted I actually find myself thinking more clearly this late at night. This seems an oxymoron considering a good decision would be to go to sleep, but I love the quiet and I love to read. I suspect many of you consciously choose to forego sleep to allow yourself to do something that feels far more satisfying than sleep at the moment. At least at the moment, it feels much more satisfying. You forget about how tired you were all day and choose to do something for yourself. At this moment you choose yourself because the roles you’ve played all day have been put to bed.

Let the Teacher Mom Guilt Melt Away

Have you ever made a list of all the roles you play in a day? I start the day (after midnight) as a mom, then I kiss my husband goodbye as a wife, I turn the lights on in my classroom as a teacher, I allow a co-worker to lean on my shoulder as a friend at lunch, I answer texts or emails from my parents and siblings and in-laws throughout the day, before heading home I pick up groceries to make a meal for a church member in need and then the cycle starts all over again the moment my kids and husband hug me as I walk through the front door. That’s a lot of roles to play within a 24 hour period. That’s a lot of people who count on us to play these roles each day. This is where we can allow for guilt to set in and cloud our judgment.

How to overcome Teacher Mom guilt

May I suggest we all choose to let the guilt go? It’s hard to feel like you’re being a good mom when you have to grade papers instead of playing cars on the floor with your toddler. It’s also hard to feel like you’re being a good teacher when you can’t stay after school to provide a struggling student with extra help because you have to pick up your kids from the babysitter. As a full-time teaching mom, this is always going to be the case. You are always going to want more time with your babies and more time to help your students. It comes down to choices. Choose and feel good about your choice. Either way, you are choosing your kids, making it a good choice.

Shine in All Your Roles

My network of Instagram teachers has started a #stopteacherguilt campaign. We all need to take care of ourselves or we will not be able to be our best for our husband, our kids, our students, and our families. We’ve all heard the advice to take time for self-care, but do we allow guilt to rob us of a truly relaxing moment? Let it go! You spend enough time thinking about you can enrich other people’s lives, don’t feel bad when you take time to enrich your own life. Whether it’s a weekly yoga class, a quiet moment of scrolling through social media or enjoying a new flavor of ice cream if it’s what you need to relax your mind and body then soak it up and don’t feel bad about it. You need to be your number one priority. Share your favorite ways to relax and indulge, then share a photo on Instagram with #stopteachermomguilt.

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Balanced Life: An Oxymoron

Balanced Life: An Oxymoron

Warning: Rough school year ahead. This is what I told myself all summer long while I was working to avoid this reality. Not because I thought the students would be hard to handle, they have actually been amazing. In fact, I think this has been the smoothest start to a school year I have ever had. What’s rough is all that new stuff I anticipated in my first-year teacher blog post. I’m a first-year teacher again: working with new standards, new texts, new colleagues, and there are always new mandates from the higher-ups. This was a challenge I was willing to take head-on, but I hadn’t considered the effect it would have at home.

Finding balance is such a popular concept, but in my opinion this is too difficult to achieve. Life is always going to be busy, some days will be managed better than others, but working toward balance is not necessary. Learn how to manage life with kids and work.

My house is a disaster. There is a cobweb behind my bathroom door that mocks me every morning. Having been pregnant two years in a row, I vowed to get my body back this year and started to exercise every morning. This is the one thing I’ve managed to be consistent about. Blogging, not so much. This is why I’m writing tonight, to say that in this season of life striving for balance is just not possible. And that’s ok.

Why a balanced life is not my goal

Living with two toddlers and a teacher husband we are often in survival mode. What’s the nearest deadline, prioritize from there. Then add the time we want to spend together as a family, the time we need to clean up after the fun we have together, and let’s not forget that our daughter doesn’t enjoy sleep as the rest of us do. Life is not balanced, it’s mostly exhausting. Yes, I’ve read some other blogs about how to create more balance in our life, but most of those (at least what I could find) are written from moms who stay at home with their kids. Don’t read that as SAHMs don’t work, I’m completely aware of the work they do, remember that is my summer. But when you teach 88 kids a day they become as important to you as the two you actually gave birth to and are then on your mind all the time.

There is always so much to plan for, and then all the things that you didn’t plan for or forgot to write down to plan for. It’s survival mode. It’s the idea that if it didn’t get done today the sun comes up tomorrow and I’ll take another stab at it. This season of teaching a new grade level, living with toddlers, and three years into marriage will not lend itself to finding balance.

 Find balance.  One thing off my To Do list!

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The Final Saturday

The Final Saturday

Monday morning we will finally welcome students into our classrooms. For me, it will be a new classroom, in a new grade with a new schedule, but only a few new faces. The excitement has been bubbling over for weeks now. I’ve managed to add all the finishing touches to my classroom, worked out the first nine weeks of curriculum and feel confident in my new position. This will be my second year working with the same co-teacher, and we are both thrilled to build upon what we started last year. This school year will mark my 15th year as a classroom teacher. Typing that number makes me realize that I’m nearly halfway through my career, and I still have that nervous sensation in the pit of my stomach.

Summers off are not exactly accurate when talking about teachers. Summers are usually the best time to catch up on all the things on our to-do list. Summer is also a great time to learn, read and plan for the next school year. Here are a few ways that can help you make the most of your teacher summer.

Much has changed since my first year in 2001. I’m having to learn what it means to say goodbye every morning to my toddlers and that can be one of the most difficult tasks as a teacher-mom. Morning cuddles, afternoon messes, and evening family outings provided us with a fulfilling summer season. Because there was a major transition to make at school my husband and I decided to keep our babysitter two days a week throughout the summer. This was the greatest decision we made! It gave me two full days to take the time to move my classroom, start this blog, and prepare for the upcoming school year. In all my years of teaching, I don’t think I have ever had a smoother transition from summer to school year. There was no summer slide for me.

Summer is the perfect time to hone your craft as a teacher. With the opportunities available through online learning professional development can happen in bed or at the beach.

Dedicating two days a week gave me the freedom to spend the rest of the week loving on my children and spending time with friends. This was a fulfilling summer, and now I feel ready to be back in the classroom full-time. In the past, I’ve dragged my feet across that school year threshold, but this year I’m skipping.

Spending time to learn what a #teachertribe is all about helped me feel inspired and validated in my teaching practices. Knowing that so many of them are also teacher-moms who are creating that balance of work and home helped me feel at ease. These past few weeks have been crazy busy, hence the lack of blog posts, but I don’t feel a sense of guilt about anything. I’m excited to get back in the classroom with students because I have so many fresh ideas to share with them. I’m content to know my own children are cared for lovingly by family and friends. So as I sit here on my final Saturday of summer there is no pressure this year. No pressure to be the best teacher, no pressure to have the perfect classroom, no pressure to be a better mom. This Saturday will be spent feeling content that I’m a great teacher, with a very nice classroom and fully loved toddlers.

Thank you for walking this journey with me. Share your reflections of summer in the comments. I’d love to hear how you are making the transition from summer to school a smooth one.

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