Posted in Teaching Life

Personalizing September: 3 Tips to Add Style and Flair to Your School Routine

Starting back to school can be a time of joy or madness. No matter what age, grade, subject, specialty or location you teach in, there are going to be pluses and minuses….already thinking about data collection! I think some things are out of a teachers control and those are the hardest to mentally manage, but the things we can control are where a shift in focus should occur to turn sweaty, stressy September into sunny, satisfying September.

The Schedule

As an itinerant this is my madness. Getting multiple schedules and locations to all perfectly come together can be beyond overwhelming. This part of is often the hardest, non-teaching aspect of my job. Remembering to give myself grace and permission to voice my limits is difficult, but I am not robo-teacher and I need to build a schedule that is balanced. A hungry teacher is never a good thing.

I think if you are a classroom teacher and I once upon a time was, the schedule is still a challenge. Doing anything new is often difficult and filled with challenges. Add in the personalities, staff and children, of who we encounter for the day and it can be a very interesting situation. Remember you are not super human…everything will shake out and 10 months can fly by!

TIP: Print or create schedule(s) that are visually appealing. Use colors and images to enhance what you are looking at. Planbooks too! We look at these every day.

This is my color palette for this year. I need peaceful and pretty.

A pretty mess is better than a dull mess!

Work Space

Classroom teachers are very busy before the start of the year making their classrooms aka “second homes” a place to call home. Beautiful bulletin boards, reading corners, words of inspiration, labels, furniture arrangements and decorated doors….all hard work. As an itinerant I look forward to walking the halls and seeing all the themes and ideas-the scent of fresh lamination!

I miss these things sometimes.

As a seasoned itinerant I have found a few places I can put my decorating skills to work. Granted this is limited and not the norm, but I try. I try to also make my classroom on my back also pretty and engaging. If you only have your bag that’s ok you can still let your personality and taste shine.

TIP: Choose a theme or color you can infuse into your folders, notebooks, post it notes, tools (pencils, pens, scissors).

These can be used to decorate an area where I have space. I try to make it feel like a solid space.

Materials and Resources

I am always looking for new ideas to make lessons and communication materials fresh. I am a huge fan of cute clip art and printing in color. My hope is the color and clipart will make my resources more attractive to my students. I am printing for one student at a time. I understand color copies are not always fiscally possible for a class of 20+ children, but this is where I say print on colored paper. I am doing this more and more. I especially use bright colored paper to send home information for families.

I want my information to pop out of a folder.

TIP: Choose a signature colored paper, colored ink or graphic to send home information, so families can quickly and easily identify your things.

Color Me Happy

I know I am going to enjoy looking at all my pastel pretty this year. Sometimes I go for the brights, but I am feeling the watercolor vibes. Maybe it is all the yoga and self reflection, but I need serenity as I am running from place to place. Hopefully looking at a serene color plate will trick my brain….and keep me zen….fingers crossed!

However you choose to color your world, add personality or spice things up I wish you a sassy September.


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