How to be the Stress Free Teacher

 Every building has one, the teacher who never seems to be frazzled. Who seems to waltz through their day without a care in the world. Unannounced fire drills don’t have them sweating. The copy machine breaking doesn’t phase them and all their packets are already printed. They even seem to somehow be ready for little Johnny to be sick and have the trash can miraculously within arms reach when he vomits. 

We’ve all probably wondered if that teacher has super powers, found a lucky cover in their college days or got passed on some secret technique in their student teaching days. While all those would be great and make for a great movie or story the real answer is usually much simpler. They are just incredibly prepared. 

Preparation + Opportunity = Luck

While these teachers seem lucky on first glance, often they are just having a moment when their preparation meets an opportunity. That fire drill that caught everyone else by surprise? Their class had been drilled on what to do when it happened and that teacher probably was ready for the time of the month that drills are usually scheduled. The broken copier isn’t a problem when packets are being printed and assembled weeks in advance.

The real question then isn’t why are they so lucky? Rather, how can you become prepared like them?

Building a Curriculum Map Template

The first step to being that stress free teacher that everyone thinks is so lucky is to prepare yourself for opportunities to be successful. The quickest and easiest way to do this is to build a curriculum map for your year. While this may be daunting at first the task can be achieved much easier by using curriculum map templates that can help guide your planning. 

For many a set of templates can help guide the process of planning and preparing the school year. Having a template that helps guide the process can take the stress out of planning. For others though it can feel odd not taking the planning process and making it completely unique. For these teachers a blank template is often the preferable choice. 

The Steps to Planning Out a Year

For those that have never been involved with curriculum mapping or may be new to education there is a list of steps that should always be thought about when beginning the process. 

  1. What is your end goal? This is referred to as backward design and is super helpful. When you know what you want your students to walk away with at the end of the year it becomes much easier to build your curriculum.

  2. Create a list of the major topics and units you want to teach. Once that is completed figure out the most logical order for those to flow.

  3. Add in the big projects and the assignments that will support those learning goals.

  4. Use a planning map to help assign your big ideas for the month and each goal for the week. 

  5. Check to make sure you are hitting your big standards! (Most teachers get stressed when they have to speed through a bunch of standards before test time. Matching your standards to your learning goals and projects ahead of time cuts down this stress.)

  6. Double check for holidays, breaks, assemblies, field trips and miscellaneous activities. 

By taking time to think and plan ahead you can always know where you are going next and what you need to do to be prepared. Chances are, after your first year utilizing curriculum maps to their fullest potential your colleagues will be wondering how you can be so cool, collected and stress free.