FACS Teachers have a lot to do to get Back to School

I’m a FACS teacher which means I have a lot to do to get ready for school. I have to dust off equipment, buy groceries, prepare demonstrations, unpack utensils, sanitize the child development lab’s toys, and this year unpack my entire classroom that I boxed up thinking I’d return to a new culinary room only to have the project postponed a year. I often find myself wondering if FACS teachers actually do more work that other teachers but I have found that every content area has their own struggles. If I were an English teacher it would mean reading long papers, if I were a math teacher it would mean analyzing equations to find minuscule mistakes, if I were a computer teacher it would mean keeping up and learning the latest software….but I’m a FACS teacher which means I get to figure out market orders, keep an inventory, go grocery shopping, and prep for a wide variety of courses. Since I, like you chose to teach this subject, here are some ways to make having a lot to do to get ready for school more enjoyable and less stressful.

Principle 1: A general principle that I learned while student teaching that I still use to this day is that when you’re feeling drained that means you are doing too much and the students are not doing enough. Have the students do more work- they’ll enjoy the class more and you’ll feel less tired.

Principle 2: Avoid headaches when at all possible.

  • Child Development: Working off principle one- have one of your beginning lessons about making a home, classroom, or area safe for a child. That includes how to clean things that they would put in their mouths, etc. The practical part of this lesson is to have your students sanitize and prepare the child development lab for the little children that will be attending your program during the semester.
  • Culinary: It is a good idea to track how many ingredients you go through in a year. Every school is different as far as purchasing ingredients is concerned but if your school gives you some lead way, why not buy things like flour in large quantities so you are not running out to the store every other week. Inventory what you have and what you know you are going to use. Make a list of all the nonperishable items that you can purchase for the semester ahead of time to save you time in the future. You’ll still have to shop for the perishable items as needed but you’ll have less to buy and will be in and out of the store faster if you make one large purchase up front. I met one teacher who used principle one in that she actually had her students put together a market order and order the food themselves. She used an online grocery store that delivered right to her classroom. Another teacher I know has students that need to make up a class go to the grocery store with her before school and help her shop.
  • Foods: During the first few days of school have your Foods students learn about budgeting their money and how to grocery shop. Again referring to principle one- put your students to work and have them clip & categorize coupons for you to use at the store when you buy your groceries. Read the class inspiring stories like Eating Well on $1 a Day and use this lesson plan on Comparison Grocery Shopping to teach nutritious frugality.
  • Interior Design: I know some teachers go to the store, call different vendors to get rug, paint, and wallpaper samples for their students. I know some of this may be necessary, but you can also make it a  valuable learning experience to have your students call different businesses asking for samples and take a class field trip to Home Depot to look at paint chips and different interior design mediums.
  • Sewing: Most teachers send their students out to the store with a letter that says what type of pattern, thread and fabric to purchase for their classes. This is one way to abide by principle one because at least you’re not ordering all the materials yourself. However, to abide by principle two, it is best to take a class field trip or meet sometime after school when parents can accompany their children to the local fabric store. The reason this is better is because more often then not, letting students choose their own materials can be a headache if they get the wrong stuff or if parents have to take their kids back to the store a second time. The amount of time it takes to get every student ready to begin sewing will be much faster if you accompany them to the store and get it right the first time. This way you’ll avoid the purchases of spandex, sequins, quilting thread, shinny costume fabrics, and the wrong zippers.

What do you do to get ready for back to school? Post your comments below.

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