If IEP season is upon you and the last thing you’re feeling is calm and composed, you are not alone! If you don’t have an IEP season because your IEPs are spread out across the entire school year, it can also be super stressful!
It’s a challenging time of year when all of your students’ IEPs are due within a short time period and there are a lot of moving components that demand your attention and time.
Thankfully, there are some tricks for staying calm during IEP season that will make your life easier!
5 Tips to Help You Stay Calm in IEP Season
1 – Stop Trying to be Perfect
There’s no such thing as a perfect teacher – especially during IEP season. As special educators, we tend to be especially hard on ourselves when things do not go quite as we had hoped or planned. That needs to stop.
Instead of striving to be perfect, aim to try your absolute best. Give yourself grace and show yourself kindness when perfection is not attained because it’s almost impossible to have everything perfect.
Perfection is for airbrushed Instagram photos – not IEP meetings.
2 – Just Keep Swimming
Whatever happens, go with it. There will be a lot that transpires for each and every meeting that you have, but you have to just keep going.
Take note of what happened – good or bad – and just keep moving on to the next meeting.
3 – Sleep
The exhaustion that accompanies IEP season is real! Make sure that you are prioritizing your sleep and getting 6-8 hours each night.
While that may sound like a pipe dream, remember that you can’t be on point and able to address your students’ needs if you don’t have enough energy.
Sleep not only revives you, but it also helps put things in perspective and gives you a fresh outlook for the day ahead.
4 – One IEP at a Time
Keeping everything needed for an IEP and an IEP meeting organized is not for the faint of heart. Instead of jumping from one student to another, focus on just one IEP at a time.
Work through each IEP in its entirety (for what you’re able to do at that moment in time with the data and time frame you have) before moving on to the next one.
You’ll find that it’s easier to focus and get everything done for one child instead of jumping around from one IEP to the next with no real system.
5 – Work From a Timeline
Having a timeline checklist for an IEP meeting can be the one tool that saves the day. It helps you plan by giving you the time frames needed for sending out notices, collecting data, and more.
Without a timeline, it’s easy to forget when things need to be done and crucial steps can be easily overlooked.
Don’t have a timeline that you love? The IEP Meeting Toolkit is a set of tools that I created to make planning and implementing IEP meetings a breeze. It includes a timeline that will help you take charge of the dates and materials you need to have the most successful meeting possible.
What are some of your tips for staying calm and organized during IEP season? Share with us below!
And don’t forget to visit Part 2 for five more helpful tips and tricks to navigating IEP season!