Teaching teens

Six Things Teachers Must Do Before Hitting the Classroom

This is for my lovely teacher colleagues! A few moments of solace before our lives get busy once again! 


  1. Just One More Book—take the time to dive into that last book that quickens your heart, the one whose characters whisper into your ears. Savor words that compel you to evaluate your own life and propel you to be your truest self.  Check out All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  I was transported to 19th century Gothic Barcelona with Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Shadow of the Wind.
  2. Two Scoops—be it ice cream, gelato, or a frozen-yogurt alternative, bite into (yes, I bite into my helado) a flavor that evokes the clear sun and salt wind of a beach shore. A flavor reminiscent of your children and their tanned and scruffy legs.  Of sea-salt ringlets and tender, sun-kissed skin.  A taste that accents a white summer dress and blue flip-flops (We Latinas call them chancletas)Top it off with fresh blueberries or raspberries.  Get yo ‘Sixteen Handles’ on.
  3. Hit that Venue—a jazz concert, the 9th Annual Caribbean Jerk Festival, supporting the opening of a local art gallery. Don that outfit and listen to the sounds of a quartet, snap selfies eating a plate of BBQ ribs, sit and evaluate the brush strokes of an artist and the symbolism behind the painting.  Check out John Singer Sargent painter extraordinaire, who captured the faces of authors, actors, and musicians in the late 1800s.
  4. Beach it—before you know it, autumn winds settle, offering their crisp chill. Slather on the sunblock and beach it.  Collect sea shells with the kids.  Buff your calloused feet in sand.  Let the beach wind calm your anxious heart before the deluge of lesson plans begin!
  5. Meet Up—I don’t know about you, but once the school year begins, there is no other life, it becomes innovative lesson plans, white boards, content objectives, and managing giant teenagers. So meet up with the friend who you haven’t seen in like, forever.  Laugh, wine up, and share stories about the kids, new career goals, and healthy life choices.  Just no whining about spouses, kay? ; )
  6. Pray Hard—the most valuable advice a teacher can do before they return to their classrooms is pray. Pray that your classroom offers an atmosphere that is safe, a place where your students can take risks with the content and not be ridiculed for their attempts at learning or considering a key question in a new way.  Hope that your relationships with your students goes beyond an academic one, where they are willing to put their guards down and trust you with the hard things of life.

Never forget that a strong-willed teen with an edge of defiance may be testing you, that they are struggling and just want acceptance, respect, and tolerance.

Never forget that a #strong-willed #teen with an edge of #defiance may be testing you, that they are struggling and just want acceptance, respect, and #tolerance.

Leave your heady sarcasm home and humble yourselves—be compelled to look at the world from their perspectives, from their fragile hearts, through their hope and wonder.




  • LM
    3 years ago

    Finally found you! Message was left on your cell earlier in summer re nyc and message left on Sps site as well. Then I read the postings! Congratulations! Will miss you.Pls. Reply to email. Thanks.

    • Ángelica
      3 years ago

      Omg😥 I miss you soo much! I miss those funny days at ESL😊 you were and will be part of my life forever and dont think i forgot about you! I hope you didn’t forget about me as well. BEST TEACHER EVER!!!
      -Angelica (6th grade student)

      • Jessica Galán
        3 years ago

        Hello Angelica! I miss you crazy ladies! xoxo I think about you often. I am almost done with Chapter 3 of Malleable! One day we will be celebrating the book! Until then, focus on the most important book: The Holy Bible. God is looking for daughters that will shine for him. –Love, Mrs. G

      • Ángelica
        3 years ago

        Amen! Feel so happy for what you’ve accomplished so far! I could assure the book will be a great success! By the way thank you so much for teaching me so many things about life that if you didn’t teach me I would probably not know them. God Bless. -Angelica

  • Yeslin
    3 years ago

    I miss you so much😭😭Your the !!best ESL teacher!!. Why did you have to leave ?😥 Your part of my life God bless you ~Yeslin(Now a 7th grade student)

    • Jessica Galán
      3 years ago

      Hoping for a visit to the Stamford Mall soon, Yeslin. Perhaps we can get the girls together in Nov.? xoxo

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