10 Back to School Must Haves for Teachers

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Back to school isn’t just about students! From one teacher to another, check out these ten back to school must haves for teachers!

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10 Back to School Must Haves for Teachers
Back to school is an exciting time. Some mamas are sending their babies away for the first time, while others are sending their big kids off to start their senior year. As parents and kids are getting back into their routines, teachers are as well. Teachers are getting ready to welcome a whole new group of kiddos into their classrooms {and into their hearts}. Saying goodbye to summer is a lot easier when teachers can have a few goodies of their own!

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Fitness Tips for Teachers

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Teaching is easily the most stressful, yet most rewarding job I’ve ever had. I hear it’s second only to parenting… But since I’m not a parent yet, I can neither confirm nor deny. 😉 With so many responsibilities, extracurricular activities, and directives being pushed down on teachers, it can be difficult to make health and fitness a priority.  However, it doesn’t have to be impossible. My fitness tips for teachers can help make the fight a little easier!

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Fitness Tips for Teachers

I changed my lifestyle about two years before I started teaching, so it was an extreme adjustment with lots of trial and error once I no longer had a traditional 8-5 schedule. I was used to leaving for work at 7:45 to make it there by 8:00 (but really, not starting work until 8:15 or 8:30), getting a one-hour lunch break each day, and leaving work and all its baggage at the door at 5:00. Very quickly, I realized that teaching wasn’t going to give me those same luxuries — which I didn’t even consider to be luxuries at all when I was working an office job! I’m in my third year of teaching, so at this point I’ve come up with a routine that is working very well, at least for now.

1 // Take Advantage of Your “Alone” Hours

As a teacher, you probably put in a lot of hours before and after school. I know I do! I have to be at school by 7:30 to welcome kiddos into my room by 7:45. Since I prefer to get a little bit of work done before the day starts, so my commute starts at 7:00 a.m. If I want to get a workout in, I need to do it early in the morning before my day gets going. I’ve talked about how I wake up early to get my sweat on, as well as the advantages of working out before the world wakes up. I find that I’m much more consistent when I’m working out early and I’ve been able to maintain that schedule for the better part of five years.

If you are not an early riser, that doesn’t mean there’s no time for a workout! Schedule your workout just like any other appointment and don’t let yourself cancel. It can be easy to let life and other obligations derail your schedule, but putting yourself first is equally as important.

Fitness Tips for Teachers

2 // Maximize Your Time

As just mentioned, I don’t have a lot of time to work out. This year more than ever, I’ve been taking advantage of shorter, more intense workouts. I like to make breakfast for my husband each morning so I spend a maximum of 45 minutes working out — warm up to cool down — and then I move on to my other responsibilities.

This was a difficult adjustment for me because I’m used to working out for an hour. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea that a 30-minute workout could be just as effective as a longer one. To get past that, I started doing a lot of HIIT workouts and AMRAP workouts. I set my timer and went to town! In October, I started a new program and I fell in love with short workouts all over again. Find my favorite program, Jillian Michaels’ BODYSHRED, here!

3 // MEAL PLAN AND PREP

I seriously cannot sing the praises of meal planning and meal prepping enough! In Texas, teachers get a 30-minute duty free lunch. By the time I drop my kids off in the cafeteria, take a restroom break, grab my lunch bag from the teacher’s lounge, and finish eating with enough time to get back to the cafeteria int time to pick up my students, my break is more like 20 minutes. Sometimes it’s even as low as 15! If I didn’t spend the time I do each week to get my meals in order, I would most certainly eat crap for lunch each and every day.

Fitness Tips for Teachers

4 // Take a Midweek Rest Day

I used to think Sunday was the only day for rest day. Most workout calendars suggest Sunday as a rest day, and at some point I pigeon-holed myself into this thought process. Those 4:30 a.m. wake-up calls started to beat me down and I found myself skipping workouts for sleep more and more. I knew something had to change, so I reorganized my workout schedule for a rest day to take place on Thursday. I’m loving this! On Thursday mornings, I sleep in about 45 extra minutes and take my time getting ready. By Friday, I’m ready to roll again.

Since teaching keeps me on my feet, taking a midweek rest day helps give me that “active rest” factor. Most Thursdays I still get my 10,000 steps because I’m running around chasing kids all day! Which brings me to my next tip…

5 // Utilize the “Power Zone”

Do you know what the power zone is? The power zone keeps teachers on their feet and roaming between desks and rows throughout a lesson. When utilizing the power zone, within just a few steps you should be able to reach any student in any part of the room. As a teacher, you probably do this naturally, so use it to your advantage. Think of that power zone time as exercise! This is how I get my activity during the day, especially on my rest days. With intervention groups, read alouds, and other activities, it’s impossible to ALWAYS be in the power zone (and also — you work hard and need a break!), but if you realize you’ve been sitting for more than 10 or 15 minutes, get up and take a walk. Utilize that power zone!

Bonus Tip 🙂

Check out the #tiuteacher feed on Instagram. Those ladies will absolutely get you motivated!

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What are your fitness fail proofs for a busy life?

 

 

Work-Life Balance as a Teacher

I used to think that being a workaholic was the only way to do a job, and do it right. As my life morphs and changes, I’m realizing that work-life balance is just as important as the effort I put into my 9-5 (or my 7-4:30, as a teacher). By nature, teachers give (and give and give), but it’s important to remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Work-life balance as a teacher is something I’m always working to master. Since my guiding word for 2017 is balance, I’m making a concerted effort to focus on it from the get-go.

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work-life balance teacher

I thought when I started teaching I would be working shorter hours and have more free time. Ha! I couldn’t have been more wrong. I work more as a teacher than I ever did at my 8-5 desk job, even though my “office hours” are only 7:45-3:20. I am by no means an expert in anything. I figure life out as I go by trial and error. What follows are a few tips that help me balance and keep me living the healthiest life I can.

ONE // Make a list of your Must Do tasks each day

This probably seems like the most simple and obvious tip. Like, duh. But really, I am so much more productive when I have a list to follow and I can mark things off as I go. Everything goes on that list: Grade daily warm-ups, start lesson plans, make copies… The list goes on (literally). Even something as simple as “Update objectives and date before leaving” goes on my list or I may not do it. And if I don’t do it, then I come in stressed the next morning because I already feel behind and that stress affects other areas of my life. Following a list each day has done more for my work-life balance this year than anything else I’ve done.

TWO // Use your planning period for planning

This seems unheard of, am I right? Between staff meetings, 504s, parent conferences, restroom breaks, that 45-minute planning period can fly by faster than Christmas break! Take the first 5-10 minutes of your planning period for yourself. Check –> Facebook <– (shameless plug), eat a quick snack, go to the restroom without asking, “Hey, can you watch my class?” first. Whatever. Take those 10 minutes and then close your door and just bust it out. Grade if you need to grade. Lesson plan if you must. Doing as much as you can while still in the four walls of your classroom will keep you from working more at home.

THREE // Take some time for yourself every day

My “me time” consists of a workout and some Bible study time first thing in the morning. First of all, I’m so much more awake and alive for my students after a morning workout! Second of all, spending time with the Lord does wonders for me in all areas. The sense of calm and balance I feel after prayer and time in the Word changes my entire day. Find something that brings a sense of calm to your life and promotes the person you are all the time, not just in “teacher mode”.

FOUR // Say… NO!

I’m a “yes man” for sure. It’s hard for me to say no to anyone, but I’m beginning to realize there’s nothing wrong with saying no every now and again! I get very overwhelmed very easily, and when that happens, my husband always says, “Nothing is going to change if you don’t do something about it.” I finally had to buck up and gain the courage to stand up for myself and I think I’m respected because of that. All that to say, it’s ok to say no when you’re feeling overwhelmed. You can’t do everything or be on every committee and no one should expect you to!

FIVE // Set a time and shut it off

As I mentioned, I work more as a teacher than I ever have in any job. I work at school, I work at home, I work on the weekends. However, each day I try to set a time that I will no longer work on school things. Usually, that’s when my husband walks in the door from work. If you feel like you are constantly working at home, pick a time after which you’ll shut it down. Or pick an activity that won’t allow you to multitask. That could be cooking dinner with your significant other, fitting in a workout, or reading a book.

SIX // Get it done early

Each school year is different, but this one especially, I feel like I’m constantly behind. I try to complete my lesson planning by Wednesday so I have the end of the week to fine-tune and prep materials. Sometimes working ahead is impossible, but most of the time it will work to your advantage if you can get it done.

SEVEN // Do the work you hate the most at school

I read this tip once and it was like a lightbulb went off. I used to bring home stacks and stacks of grading each night, just to take them back to school the next morning. I don’t like grading at home and I’d rather not do it. I try to grade one assignment per day before I leave school to make it easier on myself by the end of the week. This also gives me more time at home for activities unrelated to school.

Ok, your turn. How do you balance work and life?