Back-to-school time is right around the corner and for ECTs (early-career teachers) it’s a time full of anticipation and excitement. Over the next few weeks, it’s time to celebrate all your successes that have led you to this new school year, continue recharging your batteries, and start your preparation so you don’t have to deal with any last-minute stress.
To help you start the new school year feeling confident and ready to go, we’ve rounded up our 8 top tips for ECTs:
8 Top Tips for ECTs Preparing for September
1. Consider Meal Prepping or Meal Delivery
The first few weeks are always a bit of a shock to the system, even for experienced teachers, so try to make your home life as easy as possible. If you don’t think you’ll have the energy to cook a healthy meal at the end of the day, try meal prepping and freezing your meals (here’s a link to loads of freezer-friendly recipes) or try a meal delivery service for a week. Meal delivery services usually cost £60 to £100 for a week of dinners for two and you could eat the leftovers for lunch!
2. Get Appointments Out of the Way (or on the Calendar)
Does your car need servicing or have you got a dentist appointment you’ve been putting off? Once the school year starts, scheduling appointments with other professionals can become a real headache, and you’ll fight with plenty of other people for those coveted Saturday spots. Schedule those appointments now before the school year starts or for the first half term so you don’t have to think about it.
3. Prep Your Planner
If you haven’t yet got your planner ready, now’s the time to get it ready. If you haven’t got one yet, you can find teacher-specific planners online or you could use a bullet journal to make a custom planner of your own (a very relaxing project!), but any cheap academic planner you can find at the supermarket will do!
4. Check Your Work Wardrobe
Have you got a good work capsule wardrobe ready to go? With the right planning, you can wear the same rotation of clothes in dozens of combinations so you always have something to wear. If you’re not sure how this works, search for “Teacher’s Capsule Wardrobe” on Pinterest to get some great ideas!
5. Start Your Routine Early
If you’re always an early riser, you can skip this step, but if you’re someone who doesn’t head to bed until 2AM, it’s time to start shifting your routine. Don’t leave it too late - starting your first day back on 5 hours of sleep is less than ideal.
6. Plan Fun Events
Try to schedule a few fun things for the first term back so you have something to look forward to outside of work. This could be as big as a weekend away in Paris or as small as a movie night in with friends or driving a little further away to go to your favourite secondhand bookshop - whatever makes you feel excited about the future!
7. Work on Your Boundaries
The early years of your teaching career are tough! Even if you have the easiest children in your class, you’re juggling a lot of balls, and you’re still learning. It’s a good idea to give a little thought to your emotional boundaries now so you feel good about your decisions later.
Remember to put yourself first; if you make plans with friends on a Friday night but can think of nothing worse when Friday comes around, say you’re too tired and stay in. We have a tendency to think we can and should be everything to everyone, but you should ask yourself first if what someone’s asking or offering is really something you have the bandwidth for. If you don’t, it’s perfectly okay to say no!
8. Get Your Classroom Ready & Understand the Rules
Finally, the last thing you should do before the first day of the school year is get your classroom ready and familiarise yourself with your school rules and think about any you want specifically for your classroom. Once you feel prepared on all fronts, you’re ready to go!
These 8 tips will help you be well prepared for September and make those first weeks as easy as possible. It’s so important to be and feel prepared and to prioritise self-care so you feel ready to meet the demands of this challenging and rewarding career!