First Week Pep Talk

Categories: Resources

Today is my first day with students. I am optimistic that my morning enthusiasm will maintain through the sometimes never-ending afternoon. I’ll let you know how that goes. The first week of school is scary. There is a lot of pressure to set expectations and start the year off on the right foot. And the first week of school is dang tiring. Last week of classroom setup left me with 8:30 bedtimes and needing a venti starbucks plus an afternoon diet coke the following day. And that was without students. Jeez.

I have a few great guest posts scheduled for you this week so I can (hopefully) maintain my sanity during the first week of school. But I will let you know all the dirty details about my first few days at the end of the week. I will do an in-depth classroom reveal next week complete with photos, room layout, and a video tour. I just need to finish all the final touches 🙂

Since we often feel like we are on an island and alone in this overwhelming challenge, I thought I’d share a few words of encouragement:

The Autism Helper - Pep Talk

Your days are going to be busy. Whether you are a coffee, tea, diet coke, or full night’s sleep kinda teacher – be ready to tackle your first day with gusto.

The Autism Helper - Pep Talk

Don’t make things harder on yourself. The first week is all about learning routines and getting adjusted. Keep the work easy and uncomplicated. Add in the challenging work later.

KeepCalmStudio.com-[Crown]-Keep-Calm-And-Stay-Organized

It’s MUCH harder to dig through a mountain of paperwork trying desperately to get organized than it is to stay organized throughout the year. This is the most important time. There is a ton of start-of-the-year paperwork. Dedicate five or ten minutes at the end of each day to maintain your paperwork. You’ll be happy you did.

The Autism Helper - Pep Talk

I know, I know. The thought of taking data the first week seems as inviting as throwing your iPhone into a flushing toilet. But you have to know where you started to know things are getting better. Plus, how freaken awesome will you feel when you have a super drastically impressive increase in skills to show. Take data the first week. Do it.

The Autism Helper - Pep TalkAgain – being fun may not seem high on your priority list in the midst of simply surviving to Friday, but you need to establish your classroom as a fun and reinforcing place. Make your class somewhere your students want to be. This will also make a removal from this awesomely fun class punishing (hint, hint…).

KeepCalmStudio.com-[Crown]-Keep-Calm-And-Know-It-Can-Get-Better

If your first week is utter chaos, take a deep breath. There is nowhere to go but up. My first year teaching, my first year was so bad I had french fries and beer for dinner each night and convinced myself I had gone into the wrong career. It will get better. It will get better. It will get better. It will. Really.

The Autism Helper - Pep Talk

Nothing is set in stone. Figure out what didn’t work and change it. Yes, change it. Everything can still be adapted and molded to perfectly fit your classroom needs. Look forward and pick one thing at a time to work on. Don’t get overwhelmed. Take it step by step.

The Autism Helper - Pep Talk

Cut yourself some slack. It doesn’t need to start perfectly. It doesn’t need to be perfect. Our jobs are hard and it’s okay. You are doing a good job and it will get better. Do what you need to do to relax and take a break. Have a real housewives couchfest, sweat it out on the treadmill, or treat yourself to some wine and really ridiculously good cheese. Or you can always still my go-to option – dinner of french fries and beer. Sometimes dinner of ice cream, if it’s really bad.

Good luck! Let me know how it goes!

18 Comments

  1. You are so encouraging and inspiring to read! I don’t start back until after Labor Day, but I have to tell you, my ASD colleagues and myself in my district eagerly await your blog posts each day! Hope your first week goes great!!!

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  2. Whenever I have bad days, I try to remember that the kids aren’t with me because they are easy. If they were easy they would be in regular school.

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  3. Just read this after my first day.. of chaos… and wondering where I can tomorrow however my head is still spinning around today! Although it’s my 3rd year teaching, I am in a new school, new type of class, new grade band, new everything..!! Reading this brought tears to my eyes because it’s so nice to “hear” that it gets easier and yes, I am NOT the only one who feels this way! *phew* Thank you for the support and wonderful resources!!!

    Hope your day went well! 🙂

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  4. Thanks so much for the pep talk! I want to print out those keep calm reminders and frame them for my desk..really stressing about this year- difficult student and even more difficult parent…but I will be taking LOADS of baseline from the minute he walks into the room. It is nice to see that others are in the exact same boat as I am..Sometimes I long to be a general education teacher instead of getting beat up by my students, but I have to remind myself that I am doing it for a reason 🙂 It is nice to read your blog because I am one of the only self-contained classrooms in my entire school, so it gets lonely not being able to get support from other teachers (luckily my good friend will be starting a self-contained pre-k this year)I read your blog for ideas and THERAPY!! Thanks again, looking forward to your posts this year. xo

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  5. Thanks for the encouraging words! I’m going into my second year teaching and I wish I’d read this last year!

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  6. What a crazy 1st week .
    My kiddos started last Friday !
    Then they had a weekend to forget everything .
    I had one cry for 5 straight hrs w/ one 1 hr nap.
    Exhausted !
    Help !

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  7. Thank you so much for this! We go back on Tuesday, and I have hit super stressed mode. This was so encouraging and you’re right, it doesn’t need to be perfect. I’ll do my best to keep calm. Hope you had a good first week back! Thanks again!

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  8. Thank you so much for all your tips, tricks, and encouragement! Your website has helped me more than you could ever know.:)

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  9. Thanks Amanda! Good luck! 🙂

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  10. YES! I think that all the time too!

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  11. That is so great to hear that this was helpful, Lisa! I really hope your next week goes better. Enjoy the long weekend and hope you find some time to relax! 🙂

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  12. Hi Andrea! Yes – we are on an island sometimes! Nobody really gets it unless you are in this situation. Hope your difficult student is going okay. Thanks for reading 🙂

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  13. Thanks for reading, Katie! 🙂

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  14. Thanks for reading. Hope your first week goes well!

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  15. Great to hear! I am so happy my site has been helpful to you!

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  16. I loved these! Especially the baseline data one. I sent it to all the girls I work with!!! 🙂

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  17. I love your blog. I am a first year teacher and I am setting up my first structured classroom. I found your visuals for classroom procedures, can you tell me more about your first week of class schedule and also how you go about teaching the procedures. I would really love any advice you could give me. THANKS!!!

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  18. Thanks for the sweet words, Julie! I try out my main schedule usually the first day and then tweak it around. Even though it’s maybe an intense schedule – we keep the work at each station super easy! We spend the first few weeks mastering the transitions between stations.

    Reply

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