Tip #1: Get up early every morning
The early bird catches the worm
This is not a piece of advice that most teachers hear during their training, and certainly didn’t form any part of any module on my PGCE course 14 years ago. However, in my experience, an early start to the day is one of the most powerful ways to ensure that you have a day of effective, excellent lessons.
For many years I struggled with the blight of being a snoozer – I liked my sleep too much, and I would wake up as late as possible and rush my morning before I hurriedly travelled to school.
This was a terrible way to start a day of teaching – I wasn’t properly awake and I hadn’t taken the time to read over my lesson plans or even look at my timetable. My nervous system wasn’t ready. My mind wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready.
My lessons suffered as a result of this. I just wasn’t ‘switched on’ enough in class to teach optimally. I also found that I was more grumpy/disagreeable because I didn’t feel as confident/prepared as I should be.
When I finally ‘woke up’ (metaphorically speaking) and started setting my alarm to get me out of bed a lot earlier, I found that new sparks of life would permeate my day:
- I had time to create lesson plans for the day or read over the ones I had written earlier that week
- I had time to have a coffee, breakfast and actually wake up physically. This got me biochemically and physiologically ready for the day ahead.
- I was clearer about what I had to do each day. I knew what I would be teaching, what paperwork I needed to do; what meetings I needed to attend. My confidence increased and my teaching became more purposeful and more ‘full of life’. This immediately created improvements in my student-teacher rapport, my classroom management, my behaviour management and my overall happiness.
So, remember this: get up extra early and get ready for the day ahead. Everything you do as a teacher will improve as a result of this very simple principle.
A book that I highly recommend for learning how to craft your morning time (and actually get up earlier) is ‘The Miracle Morning’ by Hal Elrod.
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