So, with only a few more items left on my "Things I Have to Get Done During Summer or They Won't Get Done" list, my mind is already distracted by looking to the future and the beginning of a new chapter. What do I need to do so my work week goes more smoothly? What do I need to accomplish so I don't feel a panic rise at the thought of the first day of school? How can I make mine, and my family's, lives better over the next few weeks in preparation for the next 9 months?
- I want to stockpile slow-cooker recipes and create "at-a-glance" grocery lists for items specific to these recipes that I may need. Starting last year, we utilized our slow-cooker much more frequently. It saved many a dinner. In fact, I want to obtain a smaller size for meals that require more than one component, or for desserts. I've become a fanatic on Pinterest, pinning slow-cooker recipes that I think my family would enjoy. I need to sort these and organize them in a way to ensure at least 2 meals a week via the slow-cooker. And stockpile the little baggies that make cleanup soooo much quicker.
- I also want to stock up my freezer with pre-made breakfasts. I've done that every fall, and it helps tremendously until we find our rhythm. Frozen homemade pancakes for Syd; egg cups w/ veggies for me - look through the recipes I've discussed on this blog and you'll find these hints for a healthy and easy start to the mornings. Just make sure you use parchment paper to separate the frozen pancakes or you'll spend more time trying to pry them apart!
- Syd is all set for school clothes, but I need a few fresh items. My wardrobe is tired. But I hate loathe despise detest clothes shopping. It takes all my energy. Regardless, I need to find a few new items to add to my closet before I have no time to get out and look around.
- One last thorough scrub of the house would be nice, but I'm not pushing it. I've had a mind to scrub the kitchen floor all summer. I'm not sure it would be worth it, though, since at one point or another, I've had to mop up something Syd spilled, so I'm sure the floor got wiped in its entirety anyway, right? I'm just thrilled I got to wipe down all cabinets and the ceiling fans. It doesn't hurt to hope, though, since I probably won't get to a full cleansing again until winter break.
And now, for school goals...
- Last year, I did well with utilizing all my free time during the 1st semester. I stayed on top of assignments and I handed back papers quicker than I ever have in the past. I was very proud of myself. And burned out very quickly. I teach upper level students - which translates to a ton of short answer and essay grading - by winter break, I was exhausted and felt I'd ignored my own needs (and some of my family's needs) far too much. I need to continue to work on balance. This will be my 10th year as a high school teacher, and I STILL have no idea how to balance home life with school. It is very frustrating.
- I rearranged my room - my set-up needed a big change. It is far more inconvenient for me, but I'm hoping it will encourage me to monitor more closely the students as they work. I spent three days at a workshop with Anita Archer and, while I don't agree with everything she taught, found a great deal of her ideas to be the change I needed in my classroom. I'm hoping to be able to reach the students who flail more quickly to ensure their success - especially in our society's data-driven school system.
- I want to work to help our department stay tightly-knit. We're a very close department. But stress and duties and priorities can cause hairline fractures in any relationship. I know we're coming in after time off and that is the best medicine teachers can have, but I want to mend any rifts and make sure we're 'feeling the love.' I've got a special project in line for our first department meeting. And yes, it's a little cheesy, but I don't care - I'm a cheesy person. And proud of it. :-)
I love teaching. I know that keeping my list of expectations for myself small will help me succeed - and even though the list is small, the objectives are rather large. So, here's to new beginnings. Here's to a new chapter and, as a last note, Autumn, my favorite season, is nearly here! All will be right with the world. :-)