Setting Up For Success

I have a confession to make: one of my absolute favorite activities in the world is shopping for back to school supplies. There's a huge chance that the siren song of pens, binders, and color-coded highlighters is the main reason why I'm an eternal student. I love the promise of a new stage, and of marking the metaphorical with a literal fresh start, full of crisp, blank pages, ready to be filled in with new experiences and reflections.

School supplies

As the start of the new academic and Jewish year gets closer, I've been thinking a lot about the ways that we as educators can set ourselves up for success. The start of the new year brings with it the promise of renewal and change, and the chance to make choices that will further enable us to be our best selves moving forward. By taking steps to prepare in advance, we can ensure a strong start to the new year, and a foundation that we can build on to enable ourselves and our learners to flourish moving forward.

Here are my top tips for setting up for success ahead of the new year:

  • Take a step back before taking a step forward - before diving into what's new, take a moment to think back on the old. Reflect on the previous year - what did you do well that you want to replicate? What fell short that you want to change? Are there things that fell by the wayside that you want to put a spotlight on this time around?
  • Get your space in order - in case (like me) your home/desk/bag is incredibly cluttered and the pre-Pesach spring clean didn't last, this is the perfect time for a housekeeping refresher. Take some time to create a makom [space] that'll relax and inspire you - or at least not stress you out.
  • Get in a last hurrah - there's still a month to go before the start of the chagim, and at least a few weeks before the formal school year starts, depending on where you're located. Take advantage of this time to keep enjoying summer. What's something you want to do but never have time for once the routines of the Fall kick in? Do it now!
  • Set your intentions - it's so easy to fall into old patterns and to simply move from day to day without being mindful of the steps we're taking. Put aside some time before the start of the year to think about new goals and ways to implement them. 

Luckily for us, the Jewish calendar is full of resources for reflection and intention this time of year. Next week, I'll be diving into Elul for educators, and using this preparation time for mindfulness and growth. In the meantime, please comment below - what steps do you take to set yourself and your learners up for success?