All parents of school-aged children know that late August is the time of retraining bodies to wake up and go to bed early. It's part of the annual back-to-school ritual, which the box stores so cruelly initiate in July.
But what about teachers? Haven't we also let our routines go, waking past nine and sipping coffee till noon? Using the bathroom whenever we feel like it, picking up the phone if the spirit moves us, and nibbling snacks the whole day through?
Let's face it: we are bohemians. Left to our own devices for longer than 10 weeks we might be so far gone we could never again silence children with a single hand gesture or write in a straight line on a whiteboard. We'd lose our superhuman abilities to read a clock with a five-second accuracy or toggle between inputs on our projectors while delivering how-to on a word problem.
Teachers, this is a public service announcement. Start training now! I am here to help you start your regimen so that when school starts shortly, you'll be ready.
First things first: Get your language in line.
You can't go back to school slanging and swearing. Quit cussing and clear up your enunciation. What's a Kindergartner to think if you go in there slingin' your potty mouth and mumbling through your sentences? Clean it up, people. Practice talking to your family members as though they were all your grandmother. And remember to smile at the end of your sentences!
Train up the body!
You cannot munch trail mix and take bites out of your gallon-sized yogurt bucket in the middle of AP Lit. You must break this habit. Set yourself a timer - start small, of course: no food for a half hour. Then increase to an hour. Then increase until you can make it from 7:30 to 12:30 with no bites of food, only a few small swallows of water. Imagine that you're going to be on Naked and Afraid! (This will help prepare you for the inevitable back-to-school anxiety dreams that should begin shortly.)
Being with students, coworkers, bosses...anyone who isn't your family: A caution.
This is a bright spot in going back to school: seeing people who aren't your own family members. Of course we all love our family more than anyone else, but 10 weeks of nothing but family limits our ability to socialize like normal people in the world. However, reinsertion can bring unexpected challenges. Some tips: Remember to say thank you to people for ordinary actions like handing you a pencil. Try not to scowl automatically when a child says she wants some new music. Resist the urge to share your lunch with everyone; you'll need that energy for the next four hours.
Refamiliarize yourself with how they work and what they are for.
So, a recap.
What we lose: sleeping in, wearing pjs all day long, finishing books, enjoying adult beverages at 4 pm. Get ready.
What we gain: a return to the noblest profession, seeing our inspiring colleagues again, and working with students young and old to prepare them for their own world. GET READY!
In other words, your new training routine is totally worth it. So get out there and get moving, champs!