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February's Teacher Success Tips

Calendar Updates, Take Notes, and Plan for Spring Wardrobe


(Psst, teachers! This is ONE MONTH in my popular 12-month series! See the whole series here and have an awesome year!)




Happy February, Teachers!


February gets a bad rap around schools. I get it – it’s the depths of winter here in the States, Valentine’s Day has its pros and cons, and Spring Break is still in the distance. However, February is a great month to make some power moves in the classroom!


Calendar the Remainder of the Year


In pencil, of course. Time flies when you’re having fun! Every year, it seems like the end-of-the-year and those final units sneak up on me! Some years, especially as a new teacher, I would run out of runway and wish I had paced my teaching differently throughout the year.

February is a great time to look “big picture” for the rest of the year and calendar it out. Whether you use your teacher planner or you are an Erin Condron LifePlanner junkie like me, take a minute to go 30,000 feet.



In the classroom, I tended to follow my scope and sequence pretty closely. However, about this time of year, I would get tired. “What’s one day here or one lesson there?” All my little liberties start to add up! Now is a great time to re-calibrate, look at your calendar, and see how much time you actually have.

Consider adding to your Calendar: Remaining units in your classes Spring projects Field trips Fairs, concerts, and showcases Parent Nights for next year’s students State and District assessments PLC projects Spring Break Conferences Transition meetings Classroom cleanup Graduation


Okay, that’s a big list that might be different from yours. But keep your eye on those school wide events that start to nickel and dime your time. They’ll get’cha!


Think Spring Lessons


Spring is an awesome season in the classroom! Especially for my elementary teacher friends out there. Sunshine, gardening, being outside, warmer temperatures, more sunlight, … All of these factors open up opportunities for teachers in Spring.

Take a minute to consider what you need to prepare for your upcoming lessons and projects in the coming months. Do you need to request donations from a local home improvement store? Is there a community organization who wants to partner with you on a project? Are there supplies to order before prices start rising on all things Spring? Take a minute to ponder those awesome projects that you do in the Spring and make sure you have everything you need on hand!

As a classroom teacher, Spring was when we always did our field trips. So now is also a great time to make sure your ducks are in a row, buses are ordered, chaperones have passed their background checks, those permission slips are getting re-fresh, and nothing will stand in your way!



Prep for Spring Behavior


This is just a friendly reminder – one educator to another – that something strange happens to kids as the weather starts to improve. There’s a vibration that takes over every corner of a school, and I see it start in late February. Kids are excited. There’s hope for better weather, Spring is on it’s way! Keep an eye out for it – your classroom management is still good, you’re still a great teacher! It’s just February.

Keep coaching students and making those parent calls if necessary. Remind them of the great culture you’ve built in your classroom and what’s expected – they’ll rise to the occasion.


Take Notes


Okay, so I actually like to do this every month. So this is your friendly reminder to make some notes about your lessons and recent projects!

Each year at the end of a crappy lesson or botched day, I would tell myself, “I won’t do that again next time!” I’d plan to change this question prompt or re-order my lesson structure… But honestly – and perhaps you can relate – I’ve had those moments (mid-lesson) where I think to myself, “Wait, this I remember this going wrong LAST year! Ugh.”


Take 20 minutes to reflect back on what has gone well in the past few months, and what needs to be scrapped or adjusted. Help out Future You by making some notes about what’s working, and what’s not.


Review


February is also a great time to review content from the Fall with your students. State assessments for many of us are right around the corner. We know that review time is so limited right before exams. It’s also really hard to dust the cobwebs off of students’ brains from lesson they learned four to six months ago.


So February is a nice middle-of-the-road opportunity to do quick reviews in preparation for end-of-the-year testing.

Play a review game, create a Quizlet or a Kahoot – better yet, have students create it for the class! Have every student submit one question and have some fun reviewing old content. This doesn’t have to be extensive. But it’s a great opportunity to help students engage with all material before too much time has passed. Your students’ scores will thank you!


Think of Colleagues


February has its lovers and haters out there. I’ve worked in schools for a long time and February can be one of the toughest months on educators. That’s the case whether you’re a new teacher or a veteran. Check out this image I keep in my photo roll on my phone at all times:


I have shared it with more than one teacher when they start to feel that blah feeling of Disillusionment. February is smack dab in the middle of Winter Break and Spring Break. With the cold weather, short days, and lots of Valentine’s Day sugar flowing through students veins, I can see why February gets a bad rap. (As a principal, it’s candy wrappers everywhere…)

Take a moment to think about your teammates. How is everyone doing? Who needs a surprise chai latte tomorrow morning? Coverage for recess duty just for a day? A bulletin board refresh? I know you feel the same way: our teacher family is so important to us! February is a great month to pause and consider who might need a small gesture to brighten their day. We’re almost to Rejuvenation!


Think Spring Wardrobe!


Let’s have a little fun here – February means fashion! New York Fashion Week is early February, and it shows us what is hot and on trend for Spring. The best colors, the best styles – that means cute teacher clothes!


Now, I’m not a big spender; as a first generation middle class woman, I grew up with hand-me-downs and shopping thrift stores as a kid. That lifestyle has continued into my teaching career. But I do love to *score* a cute pair of flats or a few cute tops for Spring. So hop on some low-cost sites like Temu, TJ Maxx, Walmart, and look at what’s trending for the season and start dreaming!


Have an Awesome Month!

Here’s to February being your best month yet – for you and for your students. Be sure to check out my year-long list of Teacher Survival Tools. There’s a link for every month and tips for staying happy and sane in the craziest job I’ve ever loved. Bookmark it for later! Happy Teaching!



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