For many teachers, the beginning of the school year is both exciting and overwhelming. In the final few weeks of summer, their minds are racing with thoughts of lesson plans, class rosters, assessments, Back-To-School Night, and classroom set up. Before you dive into your classroom theme or your new reading corner, consider the following items as you prepare the upcoming school year:

1. Tackle Your Personal “To Do” List
Seemingly small tasks can become a burden during the hectic school year. Do yourself, and your family, a favor by taking care of these things before you head back to school. Get household affairs in order: make doctor/vet appointments for all members of the family, finish incomplete summer projects, and tackle any needed car or home maintenance. It would also be a good time to evaluate your personal finances – including your auto and home insurance. Check out the “Get a Quote” box to the right. You might be able to save some serious money!

Fewer items on your personal/family “To Do” list means more time to grade papers and plan lessons, right?

2. Plan Ahead for Professional Development
Once the school year has started, it may be difficult to switch from thinking about lesson plans, to thinking about your professional development. Many districts lack the funds to provide quality professional development opportunities to teachers. If this is true for you, check out the continuing education courses at your local university. Before the school year begins, enroll in coursework that will benefit you in your professional development. Some school districts may even have a tuition reimbursement program.

3. Re-establish Routines
Make it a point to re-introduce daily routines before the school year begins. Many of us get used to a more relaxed routine during the summer months: bedtimes are later, mornings are less hurried, and brains take a break.

A week or two before school begins, introduce your usual routine. You can start slowly, or all at once. Create (and stick to) bedtimes, set morning alarm clocks, practice bathroom routines, and eat a healthy breakfast. Don’t forget to incorporate some reading time into that routine! Having a routine in place before heading back to school, for both teachers and students, helps ease the transition from summer to the school year.

4. Take a Moment for Yourself
Take a day, a half-day, or even just an hour, before you head back to school for some “me” time. Lounge by the pool, give yourself a pedicure, get a haircut, watch a movie, or even have a spa day. Whatever your choice of leisure activity, squeeze in some time for yourself before diving into the new school year.

Cheers to a great new school year!

Erin Randolph has taught elementary school in Louisburg, Kansas for eight years. She lives in Olathe, KS with her husband, a three-year-old son, and a two-year-old daughter (and a seven-year-old border collie).

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