Sparkling stacks of supplies, a bright and organized classroom, a new crop of students. Back-to-school time is exciting for teachers and students alike. What we don’t mention are the back-to-school blues. Here’s how I keep my spirits up and focus on the excitement of a brand-new school year!

Expand Your Circle

Extending your network has many benefits, especially as you kick off the school year. It gives you access to new perspectives, resources, and best practices. Connect with other teachers who inspire you through online communities, blogs, conferences, and social media. not only lets you follow blogs you’re interested in but also makes recommendations for similar blogs. Also, try searching hashtags such as #edtechchat on Twitter or #teachertalktuesday and #teachersfollowteachers on Instagram.

Lean on Your Team, and Be Silly

When heading back to school, rely on those colleagues who keep you positive and make you laugh. Many of my fondest memories involve crazy Halloween costumes, dressing up as characters for special events, or playing practical jokes on close colleagues. And remember—if you’re feeling blue, your colleagues might be, too. Try surprising them with heartfelt little gifts: leaving their favorite Starbucks order on their desk, writing a cheery note, or filling a small jar with some thoughtful items. Little gestures can have a big impact on the people with whom you work so closely.

Get Organized

Thinking about getting organized can give you hives; actually doing it brings relief. Take purchasing new supplies. Last year, I needed a new teacher bag. Buying one was a practical solution to a daily need—and it made going back to school more fun! Also, take the time to make your classroom a welcoming space. One great way to get started: covering up less attractive areas. For example, I use removable decals to hide dents, scratches, and indelible spots on my walls and furniture.

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Photo: Courtesy of Lindsey Petlak