Hello! It’s August, and that means that those long days of summer are coming to an end. For students, parents, and teachers alike, the back to school season is in full swing. For me, I have been in my classroom preparing for my students to come next week. In the past few weeks, I have been working hard to get myself ready, physically and mentally, for this coming school year.
Today I am sharing how I am getting ready for the school year this year. I’ll be talking about books I’ve been reading, what I’ve been buying, and what I’ve been focusing my time on! Later in the post I’ll also be talking about how I’m getting my appearance ready for the school year thanks to a partnership with Smile Brilliant! There will even be all the deets for a giveaway, so make sure you read all the way to the bottom!
*I was sent a free teeth whitening kit from Smile Brilliant in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own! Any amazon links are affiliate links, and I will receive a small commission if you buy the item linked!*
Preparing my Wardrobe
If you are a long time reader on the blog, you know that I completed my student teaching on a U.S. military base in Germany. Due to that, I had to live out of a 50 lb. suitcase for 4 months. My teaching wardrobe was very limited. It helped me learn that the kids don’t even notice when you wear the same 5 outfits. Every day. For four months. Even so, wearing and washing my clothes so often led to inevitable wear and tear. My two pairs of dress pants are very worn and torn at the hems, and my shirts are faded and stained.
Despite being on a budget, I knew that it was time to pick up a few new pieces for the upcoming school year. My style for teaching is pretty professional, it’s just who I am! I like to wear dresses (long or with leggings) or dress pants with different shirts. Also I basically wear a cardigan every day because I am always cold.
For this upcoming school year, at least to start, I just want to get a few new pairs of dress pants and some nice new blouses. To start, I shopped sales at Old Navy, Kohls, and Maurices, and went to Marshall’s for the first time. I was impressed with their prices, and picked up several tops on clearance! I am still in need of some dress pants, but I’m waiting until I have a bit more money. Here’s a bit of what I picked up! Excuse my poor clothes photography skills. Props to fashion bloggers because this was a struggle.
Preparing my Classroom
Once I finally accepted a teaching position earlier this summer, I knew it was time to start preparing for my classroom. I only got to be in my classroom once before August 1st, and I wasn’t sure exactly what furniture would be in my classroom, as it was a computer lab previously. Due to that, I didn’t want to buy too much furniture or organization wise until I was in my classroom and knew exactly what I would need. I did, however, want to pick up some things for my classroom and start getting organized!
- First, I started to build my classroom library! Having books in my classroom for students to read is so important to me, so I’ve been trying to build my library cheaply (as I don’t get a paycheck until mid-August). I hit up goodwill, asked friends on facebook, raided my own collection, and visited a $1 book sale and I have a pretty solid library going. Other teachers were also very generous and shared some of their books with me to build up my library!
- Reading up on classroom management. One thing that I felt I was not super prepared for my by university program was classroom management. I learned about a lot of different theories but never really got to build my own system and put it in place. Even during student teaching, I really just had to work with the system put in place by my mentor teacher! I’ve been reading a lot about restorative practices, specifically this book, and establishing how I want to manage my classroom.
- Although I have stopped myself from buying anything new for decoration or storage until I am in my classroom and know I need it, I have collected some things over the years for my classroom. I have a few maps, a Hamilton poster, a globe, and a whole tub of school supplies for kids who need them. I know my classroom might look bare at first, but I know I will collect more things in no time!
Overall, I spent less than $100 of my own money on things for my classroom. My school gives teachers $150 each semester for supplies, so most of the new things I needed I fit into that budget. Everything else I found on sales, bought cheap or used, or had saved over the years. For once, I’m thankful for the crazy me that has been saving things for 4 years thinking “I’ll use it in my classroom!” Here’s a picture of my favorite part of my classroom.
Preparing my Planner
For the first time in forever (sing to the frozen tune), I am not returning to school as student. So, it was time for me to switch from a student planner to a teacher planner. I really love this teacher planner on Etsy, but I have been on a pretty tight budget this summer. I chose to go with this bloom teacher planner instead because I could get it on Amazon with a gift card I had been given for my graduation! I’ve had a bloom planner before and really enjoyed it, so I knew this one would work well for me.
Related: Finding the Perfect Planner for You
I bought an undated planner, so the first thing I spent time doing was filling in all the dates. Then I filled in the spread with important dates for the school year (especially holidays when school is cancelled)!
I actually should have waited a bit longer to start filling in the first few weeks of school, because my whole plan has changed in the last week. My school really emphasizes teaching expectations and procedures, so I had to re-arrange my plans to make that work. And I write in pen. So my first few weeks of my planner are not looking great right now.
Preparing my Appearance
As much as I want to, I didn’t have very much money to head to the salon and get a make over for the school year! I had to work within my budget, and that meant mostly a spa day at home. I did my own eyebrows and I’m painting my own nails. My hair could definitely use a cut, but that will have to wait a little while.
One thing I was able to do was whitening my teeth. Thanks to a partnership with Smile Brilliant, I have been able to do professional teeth whitening at home. This company has been so great to work with (and understanding about my crazy schedule!) I have been self-conscious about my teeth for a long time, and this gave me the perfect opportunity to improve one small part of my appearance before the school year!
The Tooth Whitening Process
I was a bit nervous at first because I have never tried any kind of whitening before. Plus, I was also nervous because you have to make your own molds at home so they can make you custom trays. I was convinced I was going to mess up my trays, so I was hesitant to make them. Once I did it, however, I realized how easy it was! Just read the instructions carefully, and you will be fine. Even if you do mess up, they give you extra putty, so you can do it again.
Once I sent in my molds (free shipping), the lab was very quick and I had my trays returned to me quickly. Then it was time to start the process. The awesome part about at home tooth whitening is that you can make it work for you. It’s very flexible, and results show quickly! Whitening took me a little longer because my schedule prevented me from doing the whitening daily, but that’s okay! Whatever works best for you.
I also had great experiences with the company helping me with any questions. When I mentioned I was experiencing some sensitivity during the whitening, they sent me a list of tips for preventing sensitivity! After I implemented those tips, I had no pain while whitening!
Tooth Whitening Results
Just so you can see, here are my tooth whitening results! I’m impressed with the changes I have noticed, and I still have a lot of whitening gel to use. To be honest, I was not as consistent with my whitening as I had hoped, and I am sure the results would be even better if I had been! I was so glad that smile brilliant was my first tooth whitening experience, because I felt the custom trays were much more effective than any other kind of at home whitening available. Now I feel much more confident with my smile, and I know it will continue to get even brighter!
I took these before and after photos in the same spot, with the same lighting.
If you want to try out smile brilliant, but are nervous about the cost, I’m offering a 15% store wide coupon as well as giveaway for a full whitening system ($149 value) to all of my readers! I highly recommend this product, and am so excited to share this giveaway with you.
For 15% off sitewide, you can use the code livinginfullbloom15. Or even better, enter the giveaway and win a full at home tooth whitening kit for yourself!
Am I Ready for the School Year?
So, after all that, do I feel ready for the school year? HECK NO. I am heading into my first year as a teacher. No matter what I do, I know that I am not 100% ready. I am confident, however, in my efforts to prepare myself for the school year. I’ve done everything I could have done to be ready. Although I know I still have so much to learn, I am proud of the work I have done. I’m more confident in my knowledge and my appearance, and I hope that will show with my students.
If you are like me, and don’t feel ready for the coming school year, that’s okay. Everything will work itself out. I’m sure of it. If you’re heading into college, I recommend checking out my college advice pinterest board for some of the best college advice out there from myself and other college bloggers.
I wish you the best of luck with whatever challenged you are facing this school year! You are amazing and you will conquer whatever you set your mind to! Make sure you enter the giveaway for your own tooth whitening kit here!