Teacher Tuesday: Surviving the Start of Year Crunch

Life / Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

Hi Friends:)

It has been way too long since I sat down and wrote a post on here! As soon as I scheduled my last post about my fitness history, see, I got an email from my supervisor.

Being a special education teacher is challenging for a lot of reasons. One very annoying reason is that back when most schools were built, special education wasn’t even a thought. And as SpEd services expanded, school buildings didn’t, and special educators were left without suitable places to work. I taught on the floor in a hallway and in stairwells for years back in New York. More recently, I’ve shared multiple interior, windowless classrooms with 5+ other special educators throughout the year. I’ve shlepped phonics materials and guided reading folders from classroom to classroom, never staying in the same room for two hours in a row. I’ve done all this while gawking over my friend’s instagrammed pictures of their pinterest-perfect classrooms they’d spent weeks of summertime prepping.

My supervisor emailed me the night before our first PD day to let me know that a small classroom had opened up on the second floor, and I’d be getting my own space for the first time in literally 6+ years. I was beyond thrilled!

Then I was beyond busy for the rest of the week.

See, setting up a classroom- even a little one- isn’t a small task. For all you non-teacher’s out there, I’d say the experience is comparable to moving into a new apartment, but with a lot less time and a lot more politics.

When I first got to my classroom on Wednesday, It looked like this.


Not so warm and inviting.

I immediately began figuring out what I did and did not want in the room. I ditched all the furniture and roped in a janitor to help me search for and move in better tables and chairs.

After moving the right furniture in and hauling all my gear from my old shared office upstairs to my new classroom, I headed out for an evening of teacher foraging. I hit up my parent’s basement for some storage crates, I stopped by the Dollar Tree for some educational posters and fidgets. I went to the thrift store for some used YA novels for my classroom library, and then headed to the Lakeshore Learning store for bulletin board paper and boarder. I ordered a bulk package of pencils and pens on Amazon that night, too, as well as poster of the periodic table. (Yes, I buy all these things out of pocket.)

 By the end of the day on Thursday, my classroom looked a little more like a place of learning. 


I was feeling pretty good about the state of my classroom on Thursday night, and I was looking forward to a road trip to Toronto to see my brother over the long weekend.

And then the paperwork hit.

So many documents. So many emails.

And my classroom still isn’t finished.

And I still don’t know where my scissors are.

And my meal prepping has gone to crap.

And I haven’t been able to sleep a full night in over a week.


The beginning of year crunch is so, so real, friends. The kids came today, and I my list of things I need to be doing right now is a mile long.

I’ve found a few things to be helpful during this rough time.

  • “It does not all have to get done today.” Say this to yourself on repeat, folks.
  • Stay active! It’s east to skip the gym when you’re day has been draining. But you’ll feel better about yourself if you at least hit the elliptical for 30 minutes.
  • Let your co-workers know where you are in your process; that way they’re mentally prepared if you’re a little behind on a team project.
  • Keep a to-do list; if it helps, color code by priority level.
  • Drink water. There’s nothing worse than a dehydration headache while you’re hanging posters about the pythagorean theorem.
  • Choose sleep over work…at least every other night. Don’t just keep on keeping on all night long.

And that’s about that. If any of you are teachers and have tips or words of encouragement for me, please send them my way! I swear I’ll post more this week, as things settle in a bit. And get excited about a full classroom reveal post on next week’s Teacher Tuesday!!

Now You Tell Me…

  • What do you do for work? is there a certain time of the year that’s crunch time for you?
  • Tips on being kind to yourself when things get crazy? 

4 Replies to “Teacher Tuesday: Surviving the Start of Year Crunch”

  1. Congrats on getting your OWN classroom. The nosy person in me has to ask … do you have a range of students that you teach from different age ranges or do you tend to have smaller special education classes? What is your favorite thing about being back in school?

    1. I teach 10th grade small group resource room, and I co-teach in 9th grade history (in a different classroom) as well! I love working with kids, so seeing my students again has been so fun.

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