Posted in Education, Mental Health

Yesterday Was a Tough Day – The Comeback

Yesterday was a tough day. Read about it here –

But that doesn’t mean that today has to be a tough day. It’s important to treat every day like a new day but that’s difficult for students who haven’t learned that skill or live in a constant state of stress. … it’s also difficult for adults who have and haven’t learned that skill.

So what can you do to reset the next day? (This is after you’ve worked out what’s really bothering you and given yourself time to be emotional if that’s what your mind or body needs to do)

  1. Start with something small. Do something deliberately for yourself. Take a bath, read a book, take a nap, cook something special, etc. So something small but do it just for you.
  2. Take care of yourself. Go to bed early, pack your lunch or pick out your outfit the night before, etc. Do something to slow yourself down and make sure the next day starts a little easier.
  3. Change. Yesterday didn’t go as planned? Do something about it. Politely tell someone how they made you feel, ignore the person or issue if it isn’t that big, remember that everyone has tough days and it’s okay, and decide to make today different. Move on (in a healthy fashion) and make today go how you want it to go.

It sounds like a simple solution but you have to take each step and think through them to deliberately begin to take back control of yourself and your day. It can be emotional, messy, and hard but your future self will thank you.


Teaching In Public

Posted in Education, Mental Health

Tough Days Happen

Today got to me.

Today was our first day back as staff. Add to that… I’m pregnant, family drama, and some not-so-positive-comments thrown my way.

Today got to me. And I know it shouldn’t but words do hurt.

I know they don’t define me. I know they don’t change me as a person. But it’s still tough to hear and hard to deal with.

Let’s recap…

Situation 1 – I’m 20+ weeks pregnant and I’ve never been a small person. I’ve lost weight with my pregnancy (in a healthy manner according to doctors) but my belly has finally FINALLY started to show a baby bump.

A colleague walked into our big meeting and stopped to talk to me. She mentioned that she hasn’t seen any pictures of the baby. Now, I’m friends with this individual on social media so this seemed strange as I have shared a few ultrasound images.


I pull up an ultrasound picture. “Wait!!! You’re still pregnant?!? You look like you’ve already had the baby!”

Now, I KNOW she was saying I look smaller and I KNOW I have lost weight BUT I know my belly is more pronounced than it used to be so this comment stung a little. I want to look pregnant (and I wondered how long my weight would prevent me from looking it) and enjoy this time but I’m also happy to have lost weight.

Situation 2 – we have to act out one of the new expectations they were rolling out school wide. I volunteered. 🤦‍♀️

I acted as a teacher to my colleague-students and ran through the routine in a similar way to how I really will with kids… but I’m dealing with adults and don’t have that level of confidence, so I skimp on some comedy opportunities so they don’t feel childish.

Volunteer 2 does the same routine.

Then, the presenter (a person I had issues with last year and is in a position of authority) gave us feedback as follows-

“When I went to the training for this, they ran through it very methodically and almost cold. Exactly how volunteer 1 did it. And I just couldn’t wrap my brain around it.” 😨🤦‍♀️

“Volunteer 2 was much more authentic and laid back about it. I could feel more at ease and feel my heart rate decrease a little. I feel that way when I go in this persons room (my teaching neighbor).” 🤦‍♀️🤷‍♀️ (so I’m cold and raise your blood pressure? 🤦‍♀️)

Situation 3 – family drama!!!! A family member is upset about a close friend of mine buying items (plates, napkins, and plastic ware) for my baby shower because my family member wants to be in charge (even though they asked this friend to help….).

On the surface, not dramatic. However, I am rarely the focus of this family member and with this being the first time where it SHOULD be all about me, my baby, and my new family unit, I’m nervous that time will repeat itself and I will take a back seat to someone else at my own party because of their poor decision making.

This family member is also in denial that they help my sibling 10 out of 10 times, no matter how big or small (house, bills, food, etc – with NOTHING paid back), and help me 1 out of 10 times if it’s a moderate to small (loan of $100 or less to be paid back almost immediately) amount of help needed. I wish I was exaggerating.

Situation 4 – I’m adding on to my own misery at this point. But the general excitement and urgency to take care of me and my incoming baby falls into three categories –

-doesn’t care (aka people who aren’t close with me)

-excited but doesn’t appear to be a priority (family member mentioned above and people who know me but not super well)

-over the moon (friends, other family members, hubs, self, etc)

Its a little disheartening that my colleagues have taken more interest in one day than my family member has over the last 5+ months. I won’t name this member but they are of my immediate family and someone who says they’re excited and that I am a priority but… actions speak louder than words.

So, long story short, it’s been a tough day.

Teachers are people too and we, just like the rest of the population, have baggage and demons.

I struggle with anxiety. Sometimes the stress can just be too much to handle. That’s especially so when I have days like today where they just snowball together.

Think twice before sending that abrasive text, email, or letter. Take a moment to consider the other perspective, point of view, or the human on the other end of your issue. It’s worth it to be kind. You never know what someone is struggling with or if they are at their limit already.

We’re all human. We all make mistakes. We all have feelings and opinions. There’s no need to be nasty towards one another.

Humanly yours,

Teaching In Public

Posted in Education

Increase Family Communication in One Step

Teachers have a difficult job. We make students comfortable in our classroom. We help students learn. We collect data and teach data-driven lesson plans. We participate in meetings and help facilitate a positive school environment. We communicate with families for positive and negative behaviors. We keep families informed so they can fully participate in their students education. And so much more!

But getting families involved can be difficult, especially as students get older. I had almost full family involved when I taught 2nd grade. Now that I teach 6th, it stays around 20%.

One simple trick has helped me increase family involvement and make that involvement significantly more positive.

Business cards.

I print business cards with my contact information for families. I add my school email, school phone number, Remind code, Scholastic ordering code, link to the class website, and a quick reminder to contact me with an questions and that email and Remind are the best way to reach me. Last year, I got really savvy and added a QR code that linked to my class website!

I hand these out to all families at open house. I also have them on hand at parent conferences, IEP meetings, and other places I personally interact with families in a teacher capacity.

Now, yes, they could look up my information. They could look at the syllabus or school website or the multiple things I send home plastered with my information. So what makes handing out cards so special?

The gesture.

Handing them my card with multiple forms of contact is a gesture that says, “your child is important to me. I want you to be involved and I see you as an important role in his or her education.”

Not only is this a positive gesture to families, it also helps on the off chance it’s months into the school year and someone says, “I didn’t know your contact information so I didn’t contact you sooner,” (even though you’ve called multiple times, emailed to follow up, and had to speak with them to schedule this meeting). “I’m so sorry for that miscommunication. Here is my business card for the future!” With a polite smile on my face.

I even have a handful of students ask for my card and tape it in their planners. They use it to readily have my email address to contact me with questions or digitally turn in work.

I used these cards for years –

This year I’m switching to printing business cards using Avery products. I’m hoping it cuts down on the color ink (mine are mostly black and white this year) and cutting. However, aesthetically, I much rather the ones from TPT seller, StudentSavvy, from the link above.

Positively yours,

Teaching In Public

P.s. want an added boost? I send emails to all families that have an email in our data system once a quarter. I include upcoming assignment and school events as well as information on how they can help their student be successful. I then print this and display it in my room for my students to reference.

Posted in Mental Health

Teachers… It’s Okay! (Back to School edition)

Teacher guilt is so real! We judge ourselves against unrealistic expectations.

I have laminated, printed (in color!), shopped, planned, reorganized my library, attended summer curriculum days (2 of them), and more. I’ve been in my classroom almost every day this week from an hour to a full day. I’ve worked on emergency sub plans and then made more since I’m pregnant and not sure if I’ll leave on time or unexpectedly for maternity leave.

I have done more to prepare for this school year than any year I’ve taught.

I have my reasons… from being pregnant to rethinking classroom spaces to make my life easier.

And I’m okay with it! That’s what I decided I needed to do to feel prepared and less stressed and that’s okay! (And yes, I’ve already heard from several people that I’ve been in too much or putting in too much time… I don’t care!! I’m doing what I need to do to be the best version of myself this year!)

We are all different people! We need to stop comparing ourselves and our rooms to Pinterest, Instagram, and other social media posts. And while we’re at it, stop comparing yourself to that teacher down the hall.

Do what makes YOU happy! Do what makes YOU the best version of yourself and stop worrying about if it’s Pinterest worthy or if it’s the cutest room or most put together in your hall.

Forget about the rest of the world as you set up your classroom this year. Focus on the classroom you want and want you can reasonably do to get it to that point.

Whatever you decide, I support you! I hope you all have a fabulous year and remember why you wanted to be a teacher! It’s a gift, a skill, a calling, and so difficult (and so worth it)!

Supportingly yours,

Teaching In Public

Posted in Education

My Classroom Checklist for Back to School

Unpopular opinion – I’m ready for summer to be over. I miss my students and the routine of going to work every day.

However, that doesn’t make back to school easy. It’s actually a season of high anxiety, stress, and (insert negative moods here).

It’s obvious when I prepare and when I don’t for a new school year.

Unprepared me – stands in room frustrated, has to take multiple breaks to calm down but doesn’t get much done in between breaks, rushes around, and takes twice as long to get everything done.

Prepared me – stands in a room checking things off my list and making a plan, takes multiple breaks to not overwhelm myself and keeping my checklist up to date, feels calm when setting up instead of rushed, and takes half as much time (or feels more positive and productive with the time I did take).

Checklists can be as vague or specific as you want as long as it works for you! I have found that the more specific I am, the better! This is in part because I check things off more frequently which gives me a greater sense of accomplishment quickly. It also makes my brain happy since I feel like I won’t forget something accidentally.

Below is my list for this school year. Feel free to print it, copy and paste it, and make it your own! OR just use it for inspiration for your own list.

Things anyone can do –

  • peel stickers off desks and chairs
  • vacuum carpet
  • wipe desks, chairs, shelves, countertops, and teacher desk
  • unpack cabinets
  • organize/sort items from cabinets and supply order
  • unpack class library
  • inventory class library
  • sort class library in genres
  • take down posters
  • remove staples from wall
  • remove painters tape from table
  • move table and stools
  • move carpet
  • set up posters
  • set up PBS gems and tickets
  • cut and organize tickets
  • cut genre labels
  • label library by genre
  • put away supplies
  • unpack and organize new curriculum
  • check and inventory furniture
  • sharpen pencils
  • check markers

Things I have to do –


  • genre labels
  • class signs
  • 504s, IEPs, EL accommodations/modifications
  • new building phone list
  • class lists
  • binder paperwork (meetings, notes, etc.)
  • Back to School paperwork


  • new stool
  • Astrobright paper
  • plastic vase for gems
  • bottled water
  • snacks (long shelf life)


  • genre labels
  • class signs
  • new posters
  • class lists


  • class website
  • turn in bins
  • teacher desk
  • technology (double check)
  • binders (meetings, each class, sub plans, etc)
  • class calendar
  • lesson plan book

Things I need hubs to do –

  • put together new shelf and drawers
  • dust up high
  • move furniture
  • check/fix cabinets that don’t lock

*If you do feel overwhelmed, take a break! Re-evaluate your list. Maybe you need a more or less specific list or maybe you need to add time frames to keep yourself on schedule. I ALWAYS have someone help me over the summer. Sometimes it’s a younger cousin, family friend, etc. This year I needed more help than usual since I’m over 4 months pregnant. I asked for students to help from my previous year and my husband helped me for a day with any heavy lifting or handy things. There’s no shame in asking for help (see my previous post – ). If you have helpers, I suggest having a checklist for them too or make your list categorized like my list – things YOU have to do, things you need someone specific to do (like a custodian, etc), and things you can have anyone do.

peacefully yours,

Teaching In Public

P.S. Check out my NEXT post (August 13th, 2019) for WHERE to find some of the resources I use in my classroom!

Posted in Mental Health

Teachers Need Help Too!

“I need help,” is a phrase that makes me cringe… but only when it’s coming from myself.

Why is asking for help (and admitting you need it) so difficult? Asking for help still has a negative stigma. If I need help, I must be weak. I must be wrong. I must not be good enough.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth!

To ask for help, you have to recognize you need it and be strong enough to verbalize it. Asking for help opens you up to rejection and judgement but it also opens you up to the help you need.

As the school year approaches, I begin to get nervous about all the things I need to do to prepare my room and myself. I created a to do list, to buy list, and an I need help list. On this last list are items I need my husband or a janitor to help me with as well as little items that need to get done but I don’t necessarily have to do them.

As the summer passes, I am getting more and more pregnant and less able to do all the things I want or need. I seriously started to panic, “how will I get my room ready in time?!?”

By asking for help.I sent the below message to five parents from last year (I picked these five because from their students and because they were still active on my Remind app)-

“As the school year approaches, I am beginning to think about my classroom, new students, and the students moving to 7th grade that I will miss dearly. To set up for this year, I am looking for some help to sort, organize, peel stickers, label, check markers, etc. Your students stick out in my mind as being especially gifted in compassion, organization, and kindness. I am beginning my classroom setup X from 10-3 and would appreciate the help of your student if they are willing and able. If they are able and allowed to help that day, please let me know here or via email. Any student helping that day will be given pizza for lunch and a pencil pouch full of supplies like pencils and erasers to use in 7th grade. Thank you for taking the time to read this and, more importantly, raising such kind students!”All five parents answered! To my surprise, all of them said their child wanted to help! Two were on vacation and three were available.

I never would have gotten help without asking. These students are helping me for 5 hours which will easily save me 3-4 days of working on my own with stopping, snacking, sitting, and potty breaks. Not only is setting up my room tedious, it’s exhausting while pregnant. 🤰

I do want to clarify one thing. You don’t have to pay for the help you need, usually. If you need someone to take more time and hang out with you, don’t bribe them. If you need to see a doctor, you’re not bribing them but you do need to pay them.

I know these students would have helped me for free but I felt it was only right to provide lunch and some useful items to pay them for their work.

Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness. Ask for it when you need it and give it when you are able.

Helpfully yours,

Teaching In Public

Posted in Education

A “Happy” Planner Newbie

Disclaimer: no part of this blog or post is or has been sponsored by any company.

I’ve tried to find the perfect planner that fits my personal and teacher needs.

I tried using one for each but using two planners never worked well for me.

I tried using just a teacher planner… I was very last minute in my personal life that year.

I tried using my phone as a personal planner… nope.

Last year, I purchased a complete teacher planner on Teachers Pay Teachers. It was a thorough resource and had lifetime updates as part of the price. I enjoyed this planner but it had unexpected expenses – color ink, spiral binding machine (I found one on Facebook Marketplace), plastic spiral binding strips, and lamination supplies. I printed the pages I wanted, put them in order, laminated the covers, and bound the pages. It worked great until I spilled water in my purse. It wrinkled multiple pages and made it more difficult to use. I thought about reprinting the pages but then I had to unbind and rebind the planner too. Instead, I made it work the best I could.

This year, I was inspired to do something different. As I was scrolling through instagram, I saw a post from Classes_and_Coffee,

The gist of the post was, why not spend a little more for a planner you want since you use it almost daily?

Why not? At this point in my life, I didn’t have a good reason not to! There are barriers for some, and I experienced most of them at some point, -not enough money, don’t know what to buy, etc.

So, I went into research mode! If I was going to spend more money on a planner, I wanted to make sure it checked my boxes.

I wanted a planner that could be used for personal and teacher planning, had a month and week by week view, had space for notes/birthdays/etc, and bonus points if it could double as a grade book.

After researching, only The Happy Planner Teacher Edition met the criteria.

Once I made my decision, I made a trip to a local Michael’s with coupons in hand. I had a 40% off one item coupon but also got 15% off my total with my teacher ID. My total was around $64 for a Big planner, set of stickers (1 big pack, 2 small), 1 pack of checklist papers (looks like gramma grade book grid), 3 washi tapes, and a container to stay organized. Without the coupons, my total would have been in the $90 range.

I spent a chunk of time tonight setting it up for the new school year. Only time will tell if I can effectively use it but it seems like a step in the right direction!!

Ambitiously yours,

Teaching In Public

I never thought of sharing this idea until a friend of mine told me she had never thought of using photo books this way.

Every year, I photograph my classroom once it’s put together for the new year. I take more as I change parts of my room through the year. Finally, I pack everything up and take pictures of my jam packed closets.

Then, I head over to and upload the photos. Once they are uploaded, I turn them into a small photo book. The downside is the small book can only take 25 photos. If you go with the larger bound book, there are more options.

I use this over the summer and throughout the school year to do a lot of things!

    Reflect on my use of space. Did it work? What do I need to change? What did I really like and want to keep? What made my life easier or more difficult? My desk is a perfect example! It has changed every year. I just can’t get it just right…
    Reflect on how my classroom has changed year to year and why I made those changes, like my class library in the images below (top – most recent image).
    Think about what I may need to purchase or find for the following year based on what I used and what I put in my closets/cabinets.
    Explaining an area or concept in my classroom (always easier with visuals).
    Where does this go? Do I want it to stay there? (This is helpful when I’m setting up for the new year and I can look back at where it was the year before.)
    and more!
  • This photo book is a lifesaver for me! It makes reflecting, setting up, and tearing down so much simpler for me. It gives me a clear idea and a concrete image to work from.
  • Want to know how I did it? Check out my how-to below! Also!!! If you’re seeing this post right away, you’re in luck! Walgreens has a half off coupon code right now until June 22, 2019 – JUNEBOOK which brought my total from $6.99 to $3.49!
    1. Load your photos at
      Select the size and style photo book you want (don’t forget to check their deals tab for coupons!)
      Pick the 25 photos (or more depending on the size book you picked) and select create
      In the editing panel, put your photos in the order you want. I typically go chronologically from when the room is set up to the room torn down for summer.
      Review your book and checkout!
      Pick it up and use to make your life easier!

    Creatively yours,

    Teaching In Public

    Teacher Tip – Save Time, Sanity, and Money!

    Posted in Mental Health

    I Silently Screamed “Help!” And My Husband Answered

    The end of the school year is extra exhausting. Add in family drama, difficult admin and parents, and being pregnant? To say my anxiety and stress have been on the rise is an understatement.

    I’ve been struggling with whether or not I could cope with it on my own. At times, my anxiety gives me anxiety. Who would have guessed?! I get in my head and wonder I need help, need to use my coping skills, or am just over exaggerating.

    Even with baths, naps, cuddling with the dogs, and other relaxation activities, it’s been tough. The stress and anxiety started coming through as irritation, crying, melancholy attitudes, sarcasm, etc.

    Two weeks ago, my loving husband picked up on my increased anxiety and became the voice of reason. “Why don’t you call your therapist and schedule an appointment? Maybe she can help you work through some of the family stuff.”

    Those two sentences were like a lifeline. I was drowning in my own mind and the life vest was thrown. That was enough to tell me it wasn’t me overreacting but rather me needing help through some difficult times.

    The first time I called to start therapy was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I saw her for almost a year and she dismissed me after making a lot of progress. She helped me get off anxiety medicine so we could begin trying to get pregnant. She helped me create boundaries with toxic people and so much more.

    So, I took my hubs’ advice and called to schedule an appointment. Of course, it’s been almost a year so I had to go through the process as if I’m a new patient. A week later, they finally called and I have an appointment next week.

    I am so thankful to have the option of therapy and a husband who loves and respects my needs. This time of year is always especially stressful like I explained in my last post but with added stressors, it’s become a little too much.l to deal with on my own.


    Teaching In Public