Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tips to Start a New School Year

The new school year is fast approaching and it's time to get back into the regular routine. Beginning a new school year can be refreshing and exciting.  It's good to enter with a plan and some forethought.

Here are a few tips from veteran librarians.
  1. Start browsing through your PLN, think about your blog, make modifications to your library website (nobody likes those 2 year old reading lists), look into participating in some Twitter chats (join #TXLchat  on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month at 8:00 p.m. CST starting back 9/10), update your accounts and at least make sure you have the correct logins. Look for new ideas and be ready to share your successes with your PLN. 
  2.  Clean the house, cook and freeze some meals (or stock up on Sam's or Costco meals), mow the yard and work in the garden, and make sure the laundry basket is empty. This way when you come home from school exhausted those first few days, you won’t be concerned with domestic chores.
  3. Have a ME day. Make an appointment at the spa, get your nails done, play a round of golf or shop until you drop. Just take some TLC time for yourself before the school year starts.
  4. Eliminate last year’s baggage. Last year is behind you so get over it and proceed on with the new school year. If you have legitimate concerns, make an appointment with your administrators and address it with solutions rather than complaints. 
  5. Return from your trips at least 2-3 days before the school year starts. This will give you a few days to relax and get ready for the adventures of a new year.
  6. Pull out your positive attitude and smile. If you have put the positive vibes and attitude away for the summer get them out and practice smiling and enjoying life a few weeks before school starts.
  7. Start an exercise program. Take a walk, ride a bike, jog, join a water aerobics class or get involved with an activity that gets your heart rate up. Begin with a simple plan and incorporate it into your daily schedule. If nothing else it will make your feel better, give you more energy, and encourage you with a sense of accomplishment
  8. Start getting up at your regular work time at least a week before school starts. This way getting back into your routine won’t be such a shock to your body.
  9. Start something new. Look into starting a new home project such as a home recycling program, a family blog, plant an herbal garden or any other innovative venture. This might inspire you to begin new and exciting undertakings at school in the coming year.
  10. Evaluate last year's programming.  Make changes where necessary, eliminate things that didn't work, and enhance something to make it awesome.
  11. If you don't already have a Library Advisory Committee start one this year.  Mine in the past was more social but I have made FFL.  Rely on them for advice and or suggestions.  This will empower the programming to others outside the library walls allowing you to be a true facilitator. 
  12. Start planning for conferences and make reservations now.  They can always be canceled.  If time or cost is an issue then look for some virtual PD opportunities. 
  13. Step back and evaluate the atmosphere of your library.  Come up with a plan to jazz up an area, declutter your office, change out displays or posters that are faded, or rearrange the furniture.  Sometimes freshness in the environment may create freshness in ideas.
  14. Remember a happy healthy librarian is essential for a positive productive school library program.
  15. Think proactive rather than reactive.  
  16. During New Teacher Orientation, I try to meet all the new teachers and briefly show them some resources and highlights of the library program.  I am the only professional librarian in the district, so I like to introduce myself as a resource, as well as the library aides at their campuses.  (It's usually held in my HS library, so it is fairly easy to attend!)
  17. Stock up on some healthy snacks.  You may not have a relaxing lunch period for some days to come. By all means avoid the candy and soda machine in the teacher's lounge.   
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