Dear Lesson Plan Toolbox,
I am going into my fifth year of teaching this year. Just like everybody else, I know it is going to be different but I am actually looking forward to changing things up a bit. My school is not returning until after Labor Day so I still have a couple more weeks to map out my school routine. We are giving families the option of in-person or online schooling. I am doing my best to be open-minded even though I know there will be challenges along the way.
I'm reaching out to you because for the past couple of years when Sunday arrives I get a pit in my stomach. I look at the week ahead and have no idea how I'm going to get everything in for school let alone what needs to be done around my house. At night when it's time to fall asleep, my brain simply will not shut down. I lay awake hour after hour thinking about school. When Monday morning rolls around I literally have no energy because I was up tossing and turning all night. I love my job and my students, but the "things to do" list is just completely overwhelming week after week. I know that may not make sense, but that's where I'm at.
If you could offer any suggestions I would be willing to try almost anything!
Dear Sunday Scaries,
Congratulations on heading into year five! You are probably at that point in your career where you feel confident because you know what needs to be done, but yet are still looking for fresh ideas so you don't get bored. It sounds like you have a positive mindset for this school year and that in itself is simply AMAZING!
Now let's see if we can help you figure out the Sunday Scaries. First, let me tell you that I believe a lot of educators are in the same boat. We toss and turn for hours on Sunday nights because the thoughts heading into the week just don't want to slow down. I was this way for many years until I started mapping out my weeks. I would figure out what needed to be done before school, during school, and after school so I knew how to budget my time. I can't tell you the difference this made in helping to get things done so I didn't feel overwhelmed. I would plan out for two weeks at a time, which if you can do I would strongly recommend it.
My next tip is to try to meditate or find reflecting time before bed. When your mind is in the right place, things just begin to flow naturally. I use the Simple Habit app to help me focus. There is a category for every single part of your life that you want to focus on to the point where sometimes I have a hard time choosing. You can get a free trial for seven days to try to it out. Focusing on your breathing and being present in the current moment helps to stop the worry of the future.
Finally, find time on Sundays to do a simple brain dump. Grab a paper and pen and let those ideas come pouring out of your brain. By doing this, you are making your thoughts real. Yes you could type everything out, but to me, that list becomes more meaningful when it is a hard copy written with your own hand. Clearing your mind this way also helps you to form that list so you can begin to categorize when and how you can get everything done. You might want to do this on Sunday morning or afternoon rather than right before bed. Once you do this once or twice you will see that the routine will just begin to flow and you'll want to do it every week.
I truly hope this helps to alleviate or least lighten the load of the Sunday Scaries. Once you do this for a couple of weeks, then please let me know how things are going. Feel free to reach out to me on Instagram (@lessonplantoolbox) if there is anything else you might need.
Lesson Plan Toolbox