#1: Getting Mentally Prepared and Focused (Back-to-School Countdown)

Editor’s Note: Find the full 10-Day Back-to-School Countdown here.

In This Vlog with Sarah Brown Wessling:

This is it! I filmed this vlog the night before school started for me, and even after 17 years of teaching, I still have the same feelings: I’m excited, anxious, worried that I haven’t done enough, or that I’ve chosen the wrong direction. There’s a truth here about teaching for me: there’s no amount of work that can make me feel fully prepared for what is inevitably — and gloriously — unpredictable.

It’s just part of the culture of “getting in shape” for the year. I have to have a mental toughness and a tolerance for ambiguity. I know the plan won’t work in the ideal way I’ve designed it (that, I can count on), and I have to think about my own growth mindset as a way to foster that culture of learning.

So before the first day comes, I’d like to keep us thinking:

  • Instead of lamenting about never having enough time (which I’m never immune to), how can we reframe how we think about the time we have?
  • How do we prepare for the unpredictable?

I wish you all a wonderful first days of teaching!

Your Turn:

1. Do you have any rituals you do in the days leading up to school? We’d love to hear how you get ready!

2. Read my blog, “A Secret to Great Teaching: Maintaining a Beginner’s Mindset.”

THERE’S MORE: Stay tuned. If you’ve appreciated this series — and going through big teaching moments together — we’re excited to tell you that there’s more. Sarah will be “counting up” and sharing what she’s learning from her class as she implements some of the ideas she’s discussed in this series. We’ll send a Remind alert when the first post goes up. Thanks for joining us on this amazing journey!

Sarah Brown Wessling is a high school English teacher in Johnston, Iowa. She is the 2010 National Teacher of the Year and is the Teacher Laureate for Teaching Channel. Connect with Sarah on Twitter – @SarahWessling.


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