Erin Condren Teacher Planner – First Impressions.

I love this time of year when I get to set up my new planner! There is just something about a new planner, whether it’s for work or a personal planner, that excites me. Maybe it’s the fresh start, maybe it’s the excitement of a new year ahead, maybe its just the endless possibilities that the year holds in store for us!

So I thought, before I start scribbling all over mine, I would give you a quick tour of my new planner along with my first impressions.


Flamingo Teacher Lesson Planner 2018.

For many years I have made my own planner but for the 2018 school year I decided to treat myself and splurge on my teacher planner. After 10 years of teaching you got to treat yourself a little! So after many months of admiring the EC teacher planner and watching many reviews on YouTube I decided to live dangerously 😉 and buy the planner.

The reason I decided on this particular planner was because I like how the lesson plan format is broken down into 7 sections. Also, being a teacher, I love all things pretty, in saying that I love how you can add your own personalised touches to the teacher planner. You can choose your own cover, foil binding and add extra inserts.

My first impressions of when it arrived was that it was much bigger than I expected. Both the size and the thickness of the planner are not what I am used to. Also, there is so much colour throughout the planner it will definitely keep you motivated when you’re planning. Finally the pages of the planner are really thick, which is a big plus! Most of the regular teacher planners that I have purchased in the past have been normal printing paper.

So what is included?

  • Contact information page
  • Yearly plan
  • Absence log
  • Graph pages
  • 12 monthly spread
  • 40 weeks of weekly plans
  • 7 student checklist or assessment pages (you can add more for an additional cost)
  • Reusable Sheet protectors
  • Sticker pages
  • Keep it together folder
  • Snap in ruler/ book mark
  • Snap in pocket protector

Take a Peek Inside


Close-up of the laminated front cover and thick coil (in rose gold)

  1. The inside of the front cover is lined so it can be used as dry erase board.


  1.  All About Me Page


Great quotes like this one are throughout the teacher planner.

  1. Useful information


  1. Communication Log


  1. Yearly Plan


  1. Absentee Log


  1. Graph


Feel free to give me ideas on what I can use these graph pages for 🙂

  1. January + Extra Pages for Each Month

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  1. Lesson Plan


Horizontal Lesson Plan page with Ruler/Bookmark. FYI I added the little tabs at the top of the page.  This is my own preference and allows for easy to other weeks in the term.

  1. Stickers Page

  1. Keep it Altogether and Sheet Protectors


I ordered 2 extra sheet protectors

Close up of tabs


Although I am totally in LOVE with this planner so far, I could probably do another review at the end of the year once I have put it into action, there are three negatives that I do have to mention.

The number 1 negative for me with this planner is the price tag. As I mentioned at the start of the post, this was a splurge to myself having reached a 10-year milestone in my career. The planner is priced at $55USD and this is before you have added any customisations. Then you need to take into consideration any additional extras you might want e.g. extra plastic sleeves at the back, changing the colour of your coil, if you want to add more checklist pages etc. You do have the option of adding other extras not part of your planner like pens and stickers. Then finally, you have the shipping costs. Once you have your total, then its converted in Australian dollars and you have your mini heart attack. So if you can get over the mini heart attack like I did then I say buy the planner.

The second negative that I have to mention is that for the monthly spreads, you have to stick on the dates yourself 😦 And as you can tell, I did not do a very good job of sticking the stickers on straight!


The third negative I have, and its not really a big negative because I haven’t tested it yet,  is the layout of the lesson plan pages. I am used to the lesson plan pages begin the vertical layout where I write out my day going top to bottom. I have never had a lesson planner where the layout is horizontal.  But like I said, it is not a massive negative just yet.

There you have it! Let me know in comment section down below if you have purchased the EC teacher planner before and your thoughts or what teacher planner you are planning on purchasing.




Happy New Year!

As the New Year is now upon us and the festivities are out of the way, I’m sure most of you have all thought about what your New Year resolutions might be.

I don’t really have resolutions for the fact that I find it extremely hard to stick to them. I do, however, have yearly goals that I like to work towards, that I review monthly. I display them as one part of on my vision board and have them on display.

This year however, instead of the traditional vision board that I hang up, I have decided to make my vision board in smaller form and keep it in my planner.

The two main reasons for this are:

  1. My yearly goals are personal and I don’t necessarily want them on display
  2. I take my planner around with me everywhere therefore my goals will be always with me.

Anyway, one of my goals this year is to work on my own health/self-care/teacher sanity. This year I would like to make it one of my priorities to get my work/life balance back in check.

I have spoken before about how I like to get my work organised, however, in 2017 I felt like I wasn’t as organised as I would like to be, which caused for some bad habits to form.

So some of the ways I hope to achieve my goal is by:

– Working smarter, not harder

– Creating the perfect work/life balance

– Positive mindset – For my students and myself.

Although these are some of my professional goals that I will be working towards this year, I have put together some ideas of goals that you might like to implement in the new year.

  • Stay positive
  • Build a specific subject into your daily routine e.g. fitness
  • Focus more on one-on-one time with students
  • Not let the workload weigh you down
  • Make better use of planning time
  • More adult conversations that don’t revolve around school
  • Stop making more work for yourself.

What resolutions do you hope to implement in your class/ life in 2018? Share in the comments section.


End of Year Present Ideas.

I don’t particular like this time of year, because on top of the usual rush of Christmas, things can get crazy busy at school. End of year assessments, reports, presentation day, class parties, finding out new classes and packing and moving classrooms (or even schools!). Like I said crazy busy! Then on top of all that, you’re getting ready to send off your kiddies.

Crazy busy time, anxious times, exciting times. All sorts of emotions rolled into one. On top of all that craziness, we still have to organise end of year presents for your students. Every year, I try to get something different to show my kids how much I’ve enjoyed and appreciated the year.

As much as I love buying end of year presents for my class, I have 23 students in my class and the price can add up very quickly!  I usually try to stick to a $5.00 budget per child. Obviously the lower this is the better.

So to help you with your end of year present buying, I’ve put together a list of 3 inexpensive presents ideas that are all under $5 per student.

  1. Books, books, books! 

This is one gift I have gotten my kids time and time again. But this one requires a little organisation.

Scholastic usually has GREAT book sets available throughout the school year. But one particular book set, is a super bargain, 20 books for $20!! What’s even better is that the book sets are usually broken into categories, like picture books for lower primary or chapter books for middle and upper primary. I’ve only ever bought the lower primary pack and most of the books are great!

This pack from scholastic usually comes out sometime throughout the year. I think around August/September. So if you’re like me and have missed it, I’ve found some other great book packs that will work just as well.

If you have a membership to costco, then I say check them out ASAP! Again they have great value book packs that are cheap! I have bought a pack of 15 Roald Dahl chapter books for $30! Yes that’s right Roald Dahl, and it’s all his good ones too! The witches, James and the giant peach, the Twits and Charlie and the chocolate factory. Other book packs include 8 pack of Billy B. Brown, 4 pack of Zac Power and 8 packs of Hey Jack.

But the best packs I’ve seen so far and what I got for my kiddies this year is the great book sets from Kmart.

15 pack of marvel characters for $30 and 15 Frozen books for $30 also.  So at $60 for 30 books that’s $2 per book, per student!



2 the educational and pleasure present in one!

If you’re sick of buying the traditional books then something I’ve also put together previously is a dice and card deck bundle.

At my local bargain store they had a pack of playing cards and 2 dice for $2.50. But unfortunately, they only had 10 of those packs in stock. But then I noticed a pack of 2 playing cards with 6 dice for $3.00. Which worked out even better.

Along with the dice and deck of cards, I included a book of ideas for each item.  Some of which were educational games, some of which were entertainment games they could play


  1. The entertainment present 

Kmart again has these great mini board games for $2! They had a guess who type game, which was all sold out so I couldn’t take a picture.  Or this connect 4 game. They are so small and cute, I couldn’t help picking one up for myself! Please note this is the mini travel size board game.




Have any other ideas that i could add to my list? Leave your suggestions in the comment section!


Thanks for dropping by.


How to deal with feeling Overwhelmed


Repost from 8/02/17


Feeling giddy? Nervous? Overwhelmed? Stressed? Tired? Stomach all twisted?

Back to school can be one of the worse times of the year. Trying to set up a new classroom, dealing with new students and parents, setting up new routines and general family life can make it all stressful. So if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, just know its normal and a lot of people will be feeling the same way.

Say goodbye to the stress related emotions with these simple tips.

  1. The “Brain Dump”

Sometimes we might feel stressed an overwhelmed because we have all these thoughts floating around in our heads of all the things we have to do and it just seems unmanageable. The truth is, yes you will have a lot to do but some tasks require less time then others, whereas some tasks can wait until later. The brain dump is literally just taking the time to write down everything that is floating in your head. Once its out in front of you, you can then see what’s important and what can wait for later or what 2-minute tasks you can combine together.

  1. Don’t multi-task!

I know this seems like the most effective way to get things done, but its not. When your brain has to concentrate on lots of different tasks, you wont be giving any task your full attention which means you’re not giving hundred percent. When you really need to get things done, give it your full attention that way you you’ll get it done faster and you know you’ve given it your all. Once you’ve finished it cross it off your to-do list and move onto the next thing.

  1. Make yourself “unavailable”

Things like checking our phone, answering emails/ texts, checking social media make us waste precious time when we could be getting other things done. When you’re at school and have some time off class, make it a rule not to touch your phone. If that means leaving it in the classroom or turning it off then do that.

Likewise, when you’re at home and have to do school work, do the same thing, sit away from the computer and sit away from your phone. Making yourself unavailable helps you to concentrate on the task at hand.

  1. Make a 10-minute to do list.

This is one of my favourites. Write down all the tasks that would take you less then 10 minutes to complete. Set yourself a timer for 10 minutes and see how many tasks you can complete in that time then cross them off your to-do list. There is nothing more satisfying then crossing off tasks from a to-do list. Even though they might be small tasks, crossing them off gives you a sense of accomplishment.

  1. Take a break

This is particularly important for teachers! When we feel like we are overwhelmed or stressed I know many teachers tend to work through the lunch breaks. While working through the lunch break once in a while is ok. It is very important to remember that you need to take your break. If not to have lunch, then just to get out of your class room and socialise with other teachers. You need the interaction with other adults for your own sanity!

  1. Ask for help

Some people may find this one to be a little difficult, they may feel like it is a reflection on them as a teacher or they cant handle it, which is not the case at all! If you need help, ask some one. If you’re having trouble doing something, ask someone. If you’re on a new grade ask someone to give you some tips. The most important thing to remember that it is ok to ask for help! Many teachers are more than willing to help any way that they can, even if it is something as simple as laminating games for you.

Meditation Monday

Have you ever had one of those nights where you just toss and turn but can’t seem to fall asleep no matter what you do?

Well I have.  Plenty of times. It seems, my sleep is the first thing that is disrupted when I am stressed or something is weighing on my mind. Most recently, I was on holiday in New York City, when night after night I was having a hard time falling asleep. Initially, I put it down to jet lag but when I noticed the people I was traveling with had no sleep issues, it got me thinking- why was I having such a hard time?

After about the third night of having my sleep disrupted I decided I would meditate to help clear my mind. So I got up and out of bed, I sat upright in the only chair I could find in the hotel room and started my ten minute meditation.

I would say that almost instantly, I began to feel so much better. I could feel my breathing starting to calm down, immediately I was able to recognise were my muscles were tense and I needed to relax. By the end of the 10 minutes I had cleared my mind and could really focus on what was causing me so much stress. It was like an ah-huh moment, just like all the other times, when I finally worked out what was causing me to lose sleep and instantly I could come up with a solution.

There have been so many times when I have meditated to help clear my mind, in doing so, I can always identify what my problem is that is causing me to lose sleep. But at the same time, there have also been times where I have meditated just to start my day off with a clear mind.


So what is meditation?

Meditation is essentially relaxation. It is not concentrating; rather it is the art of de-concentration. Training your body not to think in that time. Meditation helps you to become aware of your body and develops a sense of being in the moment and becoming aware of your surroundings.

Research has shown the some of the benefits of mediation to include:

  • Calm mind
  • Better clarity
  • Good concentration
  • Stress less
  • Better sleep


Although this is a short list, there are so many other benefits of meditation that I haven’t mentioned. Just 10 minutes a day can help you start your day off the right way or settle you before you get ready for bed.

Still not convinced? Well, I’ve put together a list the top 5 benefits of meditation on your physical and mental health.

Fast Five Facts of Meditation.


  1. Can decrease any tension you might have
  2. Lowers blood pressure.
  3. Increased energy levels
  4. Improves the immune system
  5. Increases energy levels


  1. Decreases anxiety
  2. Provides mental clarity
  3. Emotional stability
  4. Helps develop your intuition
  5. Can sharpen the mind.

If you’re looking to give meditation a go with something that has been tried and tested, then check out the headspace app. This is my go to app whenever I need to meditate. Sometimes I will repeat the basics meditation guide and other times I select a specific category to work on. What I love about this app, is it gives you facts and information before beginning the meditation session and you can even choose how long you would like to meditate for!

Let me know in the comments below when you have tried it or if you already do meditate!

Happy meditating!



What’s inside planner?

Awhile back I wrote about how I organised myself for the week ahead. I explained how I planned ahead for the week by the week before. If you’re interested in finding out how I get organised for the week, you can read it here. After I wrote that particular blog post though, I got a lot of questions about what type of planner I use and where to buy it from. So I thought I would do a what’s inside in my planner blog post!

As a teacher, I love my planner! Oh who am I kidding, even if I wasn’t a teacher I would still love my planner. Im one of those people that love to write things down and keep track of things. It needs to be visual and right in front of me. That’s probably the reason why the digital planners don’t work for me that well. Don’t get me wrong, I will add important dates and appointments to my calendar on my phone but the majority of my planning is done in my planner!

I have used many planners of the course of my career, I have bought many commercial planners, I have used simple non-teaching day planners in various sizes but lately I have been using a simple template that I have made myself. Depending on my mood I would either print out a few of the templates in advanced and write in them as the week comes up or I would type out my weekly plan then print it out. Either way, I would then stick the planner page into an A4 notebook.



A page from my 2016 planner

But with my planner I needed to have both my program and a notebook close by.



This is the template that I have been using for a few years now. It featured in “My school routine” blog post from last year. It was working for me for a while but towards the end of last year I was over it. The main reason being, I would have to print off the template and stick it into my daybook which was getting time consuming. The other reason it was no longer working for me was because I had to have a separate book for my planner and another notebook for important information that I needed to refer to often like my timetable, assessment lists etc. I was sick of carrying a planner and 2 – 3 notebooks to keep track of everything.

So this year I have decided to create a planner that combines everything I need into one.

For me there were just somethings that I  **had to have**  in my planner. I needed to have the following –

  • Term Planner
  • Class schedule page
  • Weekly plan pages
  • Class awards tracker
  • Home reading log
  • Professional Development log.

These are the things that I need on hand most of the day, if not on a daily basis at some point throughout the week and instead of having different planners/ notebooks for this it is just easier to have everything in the one.

I use my planner like I breath air, so I’ve decided to print and bind my planner for semester 1 and will do the same again for semester 2. That way it stops it from getting big and bulky.

First page

Title page with my name/ school information (This has been removed for privacy reasons).



Second & third pages – Term planner and Class schedule page.



my 2017 Semester 1 Planner

Fourth & fifth pages – Weekly pages


Award tracker & Home reading Log


Professional Development Log


So there you have it, this is my planner for 2017. It is the first time I use this planner, so it really is trial and error. As the semester goes on, anything I need to add or take out I can revise for semester 2.

What are your must haves that you include in your planner? Let me know in the comment section down below!

6 Ways to Prepare for Back to School



One thing I LOVE about being on holidays is simply the pleasure of waking up in the morning and not having to rush anywhere! Not having to wake up to an alarm but rather allowing my internal clock to wake up naturally and having a peaceful coffee! Really, I love holidays because I have the option of waking up and choosing to do something or choosing to do nothing at all.

I’m not sure about you guys, but I feel like the holidays **FLY** by too fast after the Christmas and New Year festivities are over. Now coming into the second week of January, which means just under 3 weeks before teachers go back, many of you might be starting to think about the upcoming school year and ways to get yourself prepared for the new teaching year.

Below I’ve put together a list of 6 things I do to get myself ready for a successful year ahead.

#1. Classroom Organisation!

This is a big one for me! I can’t start off a year without a clean and organised classroom. You may be the same, you may not. But I have found, time and time again, if my classroom is organised from the get go, it allows for an easy transition for you and your new class.

Before the kids start –

  • Set up your classroom the way you want it! Move chairs and tables, rearrange furniture, get rid of excess furniture if you have to, you aren’t going to do this again for the year so keep going until you are happy with the layout.
  • Hang up any posters/ resources the students will need or will refer to often.
  • Make sure you have some supplies such as pencils, glue sticks and scissors ready for the students to use – undoubtable not all students will have their own to use in the first few weeks.

#2. Organising your own teacher supplies.

This is a given, you don’t want to start a new year without a pen, even if your school supplies your basic stationery, you don’t want to be without some supplies on your first day! So be sure to check out the back to school specials that are on in all major retailers in Australia. Oh, and don’t forget Aldi have *huge* savings on stickers and stamps.

#3 Icebreakers and games.

The first week of school the students are going to be slightly nervous and anxious. You want to make the transition as smooth as possible for you and the them. Although the first couple of weeks are important to start setting expectations and establishing routines, it is also the best time to get to know your students so having fun ice breakers and getting to know you games are great time fillers or lesson transitions.

#4 Review lessons for the first few days

Along with the usual “getting to know you” type activities I usually have a “friendship” based unit that I teach over the first week. This way I’m teaching something that is important for the students to understand right from the beginning and also it gives me a chance to observe the kids while they are working. So having a mini unit of work ready to go helps with setting work expectations and class expectations.

#5 Establish routines, expectations and behaviour management systems.

Much of this I like to do when I have my class but I do like to think about it before school does start. Think about your class, do you have any students in your class that need extra support? Do you have many behaviour students in your class? Students with learning needs? How will you accommodate all students? Knowing this basic information will help you when thinking about the routines and expectations that you are going to set. Also, consider what behaviour management system you will have in place. All these things are important to consider before you have 20 plus kids staring back at you and waiting for your next move.

#6 Get back into the school routine a week before school starts.

The first few weeks of school are especially hard because you’ve just come from an extended break and suddenly trying to get back into routine isn’t going to work. To make a smooth transition to back to school here are a few simple things you might want to try.

  • The week before school starts, start waking up/getting out of bed the normal time you would when you are working. If you are usually up by 6am than start getting up at that time. By doing this, it will naturally mean you would want to go to bed earlier as well.
  •  Head into your classroom (if you can) and start setting things up. This is the perfect time to do so as there wont be much people around which means less distractions.
  • As much as I’m not an a fan of working from home during the holidays, it is necessary to do to help you get into routine. By doing so, you’ll help your mind get back into school mode and you wont be so overwhelmed the first few days back. To make it more enjoyable, try working outside in the sunshine so you’re not missing out on too much fun.

Do you have a special routine that helps you get back into work mode? Leave it in the comments section down below!

How to Deal With Stress



I am not a doctor or health care professional, I’m just offering you tips and strategies that I do when I feel stressed and overwhelmed. These strategies usually help me but everybody is different. If you feel these strategies haven’t worked for you, or have been dealing with stress for an unusually long period of time, it is best to see your doctor or health care professional.

Recently I have been experiencing some difficulty with one for the parents of a child in my class. This parent has been calling me most mornings and complaining about something. Her main issue was that her daughter was anxious about coming to school because she was scared to make a mistake in computer class. Whether this was really the childs issue or not I couldn’t really say. But I had this parent calling constantly about the same issue.

It was getting to the point where I didn’t know what to do anymore. The child was fine when they were at school. She wasn’t complaining of anything to me, I had spoken to the computer teacher and they couldn’t even remember ever having an issue with this child.

The constant calling was starting to stress me out and make me anxious. I’m not sure why it was but it was. I was getting so worried/ anxious about this parent that a few nights ago I actually woke up from my sleep because I was dreaming about this parent and her issue.

When I did get back to sleep I woke up again, again thinking about the same child and parent. This time though I couldn’t get back to sleep. I got out of bed and went to the bathroom and got a drink. I checked social media sites to get my mind off what was bothering me, I made a to-do list of all things that I needed to get done. I tried to read but that didn’t work. I tried to listen to music but again my mind kept going back to this situation. Finally I tried my guided meditation something I usual like to do in the mornings so I’m relaxed for the day not to go to sleep.

During my meditation when I was concentrating on my body, I noticed that my shoulders were tense and no matter how hard I tried nothing would slow down my breathing. Instead of falling into a natural breathing cycle by breaths were short and fast. That’s when I knew I wasn’t going to fall asleep anytime soon and I should really get up and do something productive (but I didn’t).

No matter what I did, I kept thinking about the child/parent and what if she took it further because nothing was being done for her child.

In my eyes, I had a perfectly happy child that should no signs of anxiety and didn’t complain of any troubles. I know that some kids don’t tell their teachers everything and leave it all until they get home, but the things the parent was describing, I just was not seeing at school.

After I had been awake for 3 hours I tried the meditation again. This time though, once I got to the breathing exercise again, I stopped focussing on my breathing and thought about what was making me so anxious about the situation.

I had listened to the parents concerns, I had talked to the parent numerous times, I had meet with both parents in a last minute after school meeting, I followed up with the child and parent, I tried talking to the child, I talked to the computer teacher, I had spoken to my supervisor and made all the requirements that the parents had requested. I hadn’t down anything wrong. I had even documented most of our exchanges.

So I was laying there trying to figure out what it was that was working me up into such a state, it clicked. I wasn’t really stressed about this child and parent, I was concerned and wanted to help the child but that wasn’t stressing me. It was just hiding what I was really stressed about. Which was student reports! Once I finally worked out that I was actually stressed about them and not the parent, I started to relax a bit. Resolving to set up my report writing timeline later that day (remember this was in the wee hours of the morning, it was probably about 4 am when I had my epiphany) I finally feel asleep.

I guess stress can be a complex emotion sometimes, masking itself in different ways.

If you think about what teachers go through it’s no wonder we are stressed, between difficult students, managing and teaching our class, dealing with paper work, attending weekly meetings that have no relevance to teaching and even writing student report comments can all be stresses for teachers or at the very least overwhelm us.

So what is stress? Stress is physiological it is described as feeling ‘overloaded, wounded up tight, tense or worried’ (Australian Psychology Society). Sometimes it can motivate you and help you to finish a task and sometimes its can cause other health problems. Stress can be something that only lasts for a short period of time, disappearing once the stressor has gone or linger on.

As teachers, we are especially prone to stress because we are usually have some much going on at the one time it is easy for us to be overworked.

Signs of Stress

When we are stressed, the body prepares itself by releasing stress related hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Both helping the body to prepare for “ fight or flight” by boosting oxygen and glucose (adrenaline) and extra energy and a low sensitive to pain (cortisol).

These changes can help us to meet the physical demands of our stressor. However, prolonged stress can affect us in other ways such as;

  • Headaches
  • Tension
  • Aches and pains
  • Anxiety
  • Low Tolerance
  • Anger and irritability
  • Depression
  •  Fatigue
  •  Upset stomach

These are only some of the signs of stresses definitely not all the signs. Stress may manifest it self in a different form within your body it is especially important that you are able to recognise the signs of stress in yourself.

Below are some tips and strategies to help you deal with stress.

  1. Identifying your stressors / What are your triggers?

Most people respond to stress differently. What might be a stressful situation for one person may not even affect another person. This is why it is important to identify your own stressor. It might be report writing, it might be dealing with parents, it might be the running around and organising school events or it might be all of these things. Whatever your stressor it is, identify it and put strategies in place to help you deal with it.

Again, because stressors and triggers are different for everybody it is important to know your own triggers. If you are able to identify your triggers, then you will be able to anticipate your triggers and deal with them more effectively. If you know your trigger is deadlines or another colleague then you can put strategies into place to help you deal with your stressor or trigger.

2. Identify the signs of stress.

Its important to be able to identify the early warning signs, they might be different from person to person so that’s why its important to recognise the signs in your own body. I have already listed some of the warning signs of stress but these are a general outline, you may experience all of them or you may have some of them and other warning signs that are unique to your own body.

Stressed teacher

3. Establish Routines/ Schedules

Our lives are full of stressful decisions that we have to make everyday. Things like what to pack for lunch or what to wear in the morning can cause simple stress. But when you are already stressed out from something and you have to consistently make these small decisions, it can start to become too much.

That’s why establishing routines and a schedule helps you to get rid of the smaller decisions and helps you to save your energy for the bigger decision that are more stressful. Set Sunday aside to meal prep your lunch for the week and make it part of your routine to meal prep every Sunday. Creating and sticking to a routine can help in many aspects of your life, not just for dealing with stress at work.

4. Talk to Someone

I sometimes find this one hard because the people that are not teachers usually don’t understand why I’m so stressed or what the problem is. So talking to other teachers can definitely help with this one. Find your girl gang at work, set a coffee (or wine) date and let it all off your chest! Talking to someone about your stresses/ concerns can definitely help to relieve some of your stress. It may not take it all away but it is better to tell someone so that they know what’s going on and may even have some helpful tips.

If you can’t talk to a teacher friend then talk to someone you trust. They might not understand completely what it’s like to be a teacher but they be able to offer you an objective view point.

In the end doesn’t matter who you talk to, the main point is that you talk to someone and get everything off your chest.

5. Regular exercise

People often stop exercising when they are feeling stressed. It might be the more stressed we are, we seem to think we have less time to do things so we start cutting out things from our daily life so we can get more time.

Exercise can help to reduce stress in so many ways. Here are few examples how:

  • It can pump up your endorphins – The ‘feel-good’ neurotransmitters in your body
  • Improves your mood
  • Boost your energy levels
  • Help you to focus
  • Relax tight muscles and relieve built up tension
  • Help you sleep better at night.

So instead of cutting exercise from your schedule when your feeling stressed consider just going half the time you usually go for and see how you feel afterwards.

6. Meditation

Meditation is only something I have recently started and can already see and feel the benefits helping me deal with my stress. Meditation helps bring awareness to the here and now. It allows you to focus your attention and can help to eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts running around in your mind.

Meditation can help relax our nervous system. As mentioned before, when we’re stressed our body prepares it self by getting into the ‘fight or flight’ mode. Meditation can help activate the “rest and digest” part of our nervous system helping with stress management.

Meditation can help to reduce our heart rate, slow our breathing and help your blood pressure to drop. Meditation helps with your overall well-being.

I know as teachers, our jobs can be incredibly stressful so I hope I have helped you in some small way.

5 Tips for Making Report Writing Easier

reportIt’s that time of year again! Most of you will be starting or may have started writing your student report comments and as the time gets closer you may start to stress out. Or if you’re anything like me, even the thought of writing reports may stress you out.

When I first started teaching, I would sit at my computer and not move until I finished all my English comments, then all my Mathematics comments and finally my general comments. So over one weekend,  I basically wouldn’t have a life, I would just type and eat. It wasn’t until about 3 years ago, when I started using the tips below to write reports, that I stopped flipping into a panic and waste a whole weekend.

So I’ve put together 5 key points to help make the process a bit easier.

  1. Spread out the workload.

Find out when your reports are due to your supervisor and create a schedule for yourself. Break down your report writing into more manageable tasks. So how do I do this? Well I have about 2 weeks before my reports are due to my supervisor. So my schedule looks something similar to this.

Monday – Friday I can only work on my comments after work (obviously) but the last thing I want to do after work is write comments. So to motivate myself, I set one hour aside every night, to complete some of my reports. In that hour, I have to be shut off from everyone in my house. I don’t take my phone with me and I make sure that I don’t have access to any social media. So for that hour I just type. Some times I can get a lot of comments done. Other times I hardly get anything done. By the time the hour is up, I stop what I’m doing, save any progress and move on. Just give yourself one hour, you’ll be amazed how much you can get done (most of the time).

Saturday and Sunday is a little different because I have more time but I still stick to the same guidelines. On the weekends I give myself a minimum number of comments that I have to do before I can have my break. If I know that I can get about 7 English comments done in an hour then ill say to myself, after I have finished 7 comments I can have a 20 minute break or something along those lines. Then I just keep repeating this process for a few hours, but I make sure I take my break. 

We don’t expect out students to sit for hours on end in their seat so why should we expect the same for ourselves?

  1. Minimise as many distractions as you can.

If this means having your partner take the kids for a few hours then so be it. Switch off from all social media, turn your phone to do not disturb (DND) great function on the iPhone, not sure what the Android equivalent would be.

Minimising as many distractions as possible stops the amount of times you have to stop and start, which can make it much harder to work efficiently. The less distractions you have the better it is for you.

This is the same for multi-tasking. Multi-tasking can sometimes have the opposite effect. You think you’re getting a lot done by working on two things at once but you are not giving 100% to both tasks, therefore taking away from your efficiency. When you start your report comments you are in it for the long run.

  1. Be observant.

Some times we are so busy helping the students during English or Math that we hardly notice the other students that are working away quietly. As report time gets closer, take notice of your students. I like to keep a notepad or post-its on hand to write down any behaviours I have observed. That way when it comes time to writing the general comment about their work habits I have their observations written down.

  1. Be prepared.

Nothing is worse then sitting down to write report comments and not having your assessments with you to write the comments. Have all your assessments completed and have them laid out in front of you or somewhere close to where you are writing the reports. Having them on hand makes it so much easier when you actucally have to write the comment. If you want to go that extra mile organise your assessments into alphabetical order, so as you come to the students you know exactly where to find their assessments.

  1. Don’t forget to take a break.

Last of all and probably most important, don’t forget to take a break. Think of your break as your reward! Finished 10 maths comments? Then take a break! It doesn’t have to be very long but do get up and away from your computer screen even if it is only for 20 minutes. Believe me your eyes and body will thank you for it

Do you have any report writing tips that help you get through the crazy season? Leave them in the comment section down below!

My School Routine- How I get Organised for the Week Ahead

Untitled1I may have said this before and I will probably say it again but… teaching is one of the hardest jobs. But there is one thing that can help make it easier and that is being organised! Well at least it does for me any way.

Last year, was one of my hardest years as a teacher and without going into too much detail now part of why I struggled last year was because I was never organised and I always felt like I was chasing my tail. No matter what I did I always felt like I was unorganised and my lessons failed because of it (whether they did or they didn’t, I just felt like they did).

So one of my goals this year was to be better organised at home and at work.

In my summer break I planned and programmed for my new class for two weeks in advance. Although, first term is just getting the kids use to routine/ expectations, I still programmed for it. Once I was into the second week of my plan, I then began planning for the week ahead.

Here are things that I usually go through either on a Wednesday afternoon or Thursday afternoon to get myself organised for the week ahead.

  1. Flipping through the program –

First things first, shifting through my program!  If your school is anything like mine, my program is stuffed with all the necessary paperwork before my actual lessons are anywhere to be found.


  1. Day book –

Once I’ve shifted through my program and found what I wanted,  I write it all down in my daybook.


Things that are highlighted are a new concept that I have to teach or require some additional resources.

Would you like a copy of my planner?

UntitledYou can get a copy here Weekly Planner



After my activities are planned out, I start writing things down into a list format. I categorise things into different sections i.e. games, printables, posters, books etc… Anything that I need to do, would go onto the list.


  1. PRINT ME!

Last thing I do is organise my printing into two sections. Things I need to print off my computer would be saved on to a USB, then worksheets I need printed I would organise into my manila printing folder. Then I would either print everything myself or hand over my printing folder to our great fantastic office lady that happily prints things for all teachers on Fridays.

It might seem like a lot of work but it really isn’t. I’m finding I’m much more organised planning this way and I have more of a focus of what I am going to teach for the week ahead. Although my planning process does take sometime, but once I sit down to plan and my head is in the game, everything happens easily and quickly and I’m not wasting time on my weekend to do things. I’m actually getting a weekend!!! Also, Im not running around Monday morning trying to photocopy things that I need for the week ahead!

There you have it. This is usually how I plan out my teaching week.

I’m really interested to know how other teachers plan, so if you do things differently or the even the same as me, let me know in the comment section below!