The Best Teacher Tips Ever. Yes, It's a List

04 August 2015

There's a lot of lists going around these days.  Back-to-School season means it's always a good time to reflect on what works, what drives us bonkers, and how to maintain a balance between school and home.  Being a responsible blogger, I figured I'd break out a list for you.

The following list is based on a true story.

Stay Out of the Teacher's Lounge
I'm not talking about the lunch time gossip.  I'm talking about the food.  
Trust me, I have first-hand(fulls) knowledge on all this food.  I had to start running and exercising because of this knowledge.  

The key: be aware of all the food in there.
The objective: don't eat it all.  

Seems like an easy task, until you realize you walk in (or by the lounge) all day long.  You just don't realize the gravitational pull it has.

Find Your Niche
If you're talented or have a particular set of skills--share them with your colleagues.  They'll see you as a resource, ask for your help, become indebted, and then become your friend (maybe).  

My niche's be: 
-Technology Help Center
-Costuming Guy
-Coffee creamer Guy 
-WiFi-password logger-in-er
-The Candy Man  

These are my things. My niches help people out.
My niches build relationships.  Find yours. 

Be Switzerland
Be like Switzterland in the World Wars...stay neutral.  Conflict can be everywhere (as I glance over my shoulder)

Do your best and don't get caught up in it.  I know, I know--that's hard.  But it will be one of the most effective strategies you can use.  Besides, school is a lot more fun when the teacher drama is at a zero.  

Leave School Emails at School  
Last year I took my school email off of my phone.  Great choice.  I needed to make sure that my mind was at home when I was.  

I recently heard the idea that incoming email "asks for your time".  It wants something from you.  I've decided to keep school emails at school (including when I respond).  This doesn't mean I don't check them on my laptop once I get home (because I do) but unless it's an emergency it can be handled the following day.  

Don't stress yourself by trying to immediately respond and converse.  Take your time.

   I'm continuing this practice for another year. 

Read A Professional Development Book That Interests You.
I try and pick a couple to read each year.  I take my time with them.  I like them.
Currently, there are three books strategically placed around my house. I'll pick up and read bits and pieces whenever I feel the need.  

Forced reading sucks--kind of like being in school.  

When we pick our own, we like it just a little bit more.

Join/Start An Online Group for Educators.
I don't care if it's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram--it doesn't matter.  Just join a group of teachers that are outside of your school.  These groups are great for so many reasons; building your PLN, coming up with ideas, sharing resources, problem-solving, and bridging teachers together from all over the world.  It's an incredibly positive experience you'll have with your fellow educators.

You could say it will be Justin Credible. Eh?

Figure Out What Candy Your Teammates Like
Sugar.  For those tough days. You will thank me.  

Put Together a Survival Kit
Deodorant, fingernail clippers, razor, hairspray.  All those little things you that you never know when you'll need.  Except for deodorant, we always need that.

If You Wear White, Skip Coffee That Day
On the two occasions I've worn a white shirt (because I never do) I ended up spilling coffee down the front of my shirt.  As much as I love my coffee, I don't want to wear it like a badge of honor.  The easiest solution is to just not wear white.

c''s Top Gun

Always Have a Set of Back-Up Clothes
You never know what can happen to your clothes: rips, stains, child sickness, sweatiness. You, me, we--all need a back-up.

Be Nice or Do Something Nice For Someone
It feels good.  It makes other people feel good.  It's easy to do. Everyone wins. Find your niceness.

Go Home
Seriously.  Go home.

Have some fun.  Watch Netflix.  Browse Pinterest. Get a hobby. Don't burn yourself out burning the candle at both ends.  Find something that truly makes you happy, inspires you, or is plain-old fun....knitting.  I just started playing piano after a 20 year sabbatical.

That's my list.




  1. Good reminders for teachers like me who are addicted to being busy. 👍🏻

  2. Can you and your family move to Juneau please? I'm positive you are my soul sister. Brother? No, sister. Sounds better.

  3. I absolutely love this! Thank you so much! Great tips!

    Life As I Know It

  4. I want to be your best friend haha

    The gifs had me cracking up :) ANd yes, agree with all of these! Great reminders :)

    Anisa @ Creative Undertakings

  5. Your post inspired me. I love the tips you shared. And the clever way you explained each one. I linked to your post in my own blog post. I loved your GIFs too. Took a big of "googling", but I figured out how to add some to my post too.

  6. You had me at list, I am a sucker for anything put into a list (songs, movies, places to visit, books) and this list is awesome!! I 100% agree with the white and coffee and have worn white, got a coffee and said to myself this is going to end badly....and it always does. Your niches are very similar to mine (minus the guy parts). I will have to try that email one this year - I find it soooo hard not to respond right away.

  7. Great list Matt! I bet it's really hard staying away from all the goodies in the teacher's lounge, especailly since you are right next door to it!

  8. Not checking the email at home is probably my worst habit. If they don't reach me on email...then they start in on me via FB...and if I don't answer FB they start texting. My cell phone is out there because of prior students/siblings, field trips etc. I finally had to have a no texting me before 7:15 on school days rule and even had to write about it in my newsletter. I'd change my number, but I've had it for 19 years...NINETEEN YEARS. Do you even know how long it would take me to remember a new number. It was bad enough changing my last name after 39 years....I still haven't gotten over that identity crisis. A changed cell number would probably send me over the edge.
    Back on topic...great list as always!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  9. Do you need free Google+ Circles?
    Did you know that you can get these ON AUTOPILOT & ABSOLUTELY FOR FREE by registering on Like 4 Like?


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