Going back in January is always jolting for me.
We run around like crazy in December, hit Christmas break, and try desperately to get everything done before the holiday is over.
By the time I get through family Christmases, my birthday, New Years, and trying to relax, I get to the last day of break without having anything done.
I’m in a total panic and hoping to get a little better at controlling some things…of course while realizing the illusion of control is just that. An illusion.
This is why I reflected over my years of teaching (and with help from my friends!) and came up with these 6 simple but effective teacher hacks for going back in January.
#1 Get Rid of Toxic
#2 Pack an Emergency Bag For School
I have a desk drawer that is just for this sort of stuff. My favorites include:
- Hair brush
- Static guard
- Dry shampoo
- Cough drops
- Makeup wipes
- Some Tylenol sinus
- Benadryl (cause I’m allergic to everything)
- Extra contact case
- A mirror
- Colgate Wisps
- A toothbrush and toothpaste
- Body spray
- Feminine hygiene products
- A nail file
- A few hair ties
- A pair of socks
- A Tide Pen
- Safety pins
It comes in handy A LOT, and I’m always happy to have some of it there when it’s concert day!
Sometimes those minor annoyances will make your day go less smoothly, so it’s nice to eliminate them when they come up. You’ll thank yourself when you realize how often you go to your emergency stash.
#3 Leave It at School
Stop taking it all home by staying a little later, or go in a little early.
A few years ago when I really started working on my TpT store, I committed to not taking it home.
I allow myself a few days to stay late and get stuff done, and I go in about 2 hours before I start teaching every day to have my coffee, clean my room, prep materials, etc.
It’s made such a difference because I’m not sitting at home giving myself infinite time to work on things. The longer I have to work on something, the more I procrastinate.
When I’m home I can work on TpT or do whatever else I have planned for the evening without feeling guilty.
Besides, who are we kidding? Most of the time all that school stuff either sat in my car or bookbag without being touched.
If you do #4, you won’t need to add in the extra weightlifting.
#4 Set a Workout Schedule
#5 Just Get Rid of “The” Pile, Already!
- Field trips
- THE musical
- Stuff to check
- Random school papers
I also have one urgent file that I allow myself to leave on the desk. And it has to be put away every Friday when I leave.
Set a deadline for things. Put things you reference often on a clipboard and hang it.
Don’t put the catalogs from West Music and JWPepper in the pile. Put them somewhere you will look at them, or put them in the recycling bin.
#6 Use a New Tool
Use a tool you already have but haven’t used. This is my personal favorite of the teacher hacks for going back in January.
Is there a book you haven’t used yet? An app? Something you bought on TpT? A classroom instrument you don’t pull out often?
New year, new you. Find something you have and don’t use and it will breathe a new life into your room.
I’m planning to bust out my new-to-me copy of 120 Singing Games and Dances.
I know! I haven’t used it yet…! #FAIL. I picked up the copy as a resale online before the big reveal of my school and didn’t have time to sort through it before we went back.
I’m so excited to use it!
Where To Go From Here?
I hope you found my 6 simple but effective teacher hacks for going back in January helpful. I know there are a ton of other things out there to do, so make sure to share it by commenting.
If you enjoyed this article, you should also check out how I reenergized my recorder curriculum by doing away with belt tests.