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January 8, 2016

Visualize It! Start the School Year Off Right

Imagine that it’s the end of the first day of school. You’re home now, maybe sitting outside, reflecting on how your day went. What will your end-of-day story be?

Your End-of-Day Story

“Ahh, today was a good day! It actually went better than I planned. I really like my students. I can tell this is going to be a great year, and I’m already looking forward to tomorrow. I am really glad that…”

Visualization is a form of mindfulness, a practice that calms the mind, increases awareness, and allows a person to be “present” in the moment. By visualizing yourself being successful in your classroom, it will help you set goals for the first day, the first week, and even the entire school year.

Now is the time to decide what your end-of-day story will be for the first day of school. As you begin to envision your end-of-day story, avoid forcing specific outcomes. The unexpected will definitely happen, and everything won’t go exactly as planned, but having an end-of-day story will help you focus on your big goals before the everyday distractions begin.

Good-Day Intentions

A great way to establish a good first day is to set a simple good-day intention. Before you leave the house in the morning, tell yourself something like:

“This morning, I want to feel prepared, ready, and eager. I want to hear warm hellos from the people with whom I cross paths, and I want to see smiling colleagues and students. I want my students to feel happy to be in my classroom.”

Do you see how this simple act sets you up to be in a good mood and to expect positive outcomes? Try setting good-day intentions for different segments throughout the day. Here are a couple of examples:

Before a lesson: Your good-day intention before a lesson may sound like: “For this lesson, I want to be an effective and engaging teacher. I want to hear my students say things that help me gauge their understanding, and I want to see them helping one another and looking confident while they are doing the activity. I want them to feel comfortable and empowered to ask questions.”

End of the school day: Your good-day intention when you are at the end of the school day may sound something like this:“I want to feel stable and organized as this day comes to a close. I want to be able to let go of any negative feelings and to see my students cooperating. I want things to run as smoothly as possible. I want my students to feel satisfied and content. I want to feel relaxed.”

Formula for Good-Day Intentions

Try setting a good-day intention now, for the first day of school. The formula for doing so consists of any variation of the following 3 components:

  1. I want to feel _________
  2. I want to see/hear _________
  3. I want my students to feel _________

At the end of the first day of school, reflect on how your end-of-day story and your good-day intentions helped to set you up for success. You will most likely be pleasantly surprised by how positive you feel. You may even find yourself repeating this process the next day… and the next!

Here’s to having a great first day!

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