My first year was super rewarding but it was also very stressful. Balancing a new job and all the responsibilities that goes along with that is difficult. Add to that shouldering the weight of ensuring the educational and emotional success of 26 little grown ups......ugh it's a recipe for a nervous breakdown.
It took me about 3 years to figure these 5 key habits out. Once I began embedding them into my instructional practice my life became more balanced.
1.Make a task list each morning
I used to use sticky notes for each task and stick them around my desk area. It was satisfying to crumble them up throughout the day. Nothing says accomplished like a trash bin full of sticky notes.
2. Lean on your PLC don't go it alone
You don't have to go it alone meet frequently with your teammates. This doesn't have to be in person. I started a GroupMe chat with my PLC so we could stay in close collaboration.
3. Build strong relationships with parents
Parents want to help you and they can be your greatest asset. Think about it...You are teaching their babies anything they can do they will do. I liked using the remind me app to stay in touch with parents. Don't be afraid to ask them for help. My first year a parent made 30 privacy tents for my class.
4. Pick one Late Day
Pick one day each week that you will work late and stick to that plan. I liked to stay on Thursday's because it was near the end of the week. I already knew what I'd need for the next week. I also liked it because it gave me enough teaching days on which I could reflect/recap the week. I used the time to get a head start on copies and center materials.
5. Weekly Reflection
I kept a journal that was just for me and wrote in it frequently. I would reflect on my instructional practice and classroom management.