How to Get Ready in a Teacher Minute

If you leave your house every morning with matching shoes, manicured nails, styled hair, and smiling with the light of a thousand suns, this post may not be very helpful to you. Also, kudos to having those skills! However, If you’re more likely to skip breakfast at home in order to have time to grab all the resources you’ll need for the day, and jump in the car (likely opting for fast-food breakfast during your commute), then this post is for you!

No time is better than the present to try out a new morning routine. Specifically, if it saves you tons of time and effort. To give you some perspective, allow me to share what my daily routine looked like as a teacher.

5:30 am

Alarm goes off. Curse the morning. Fantasize calling in sick. Remember infallible sense of duty. Also, nobody else can do my job. Also, I would miss my students. Curse the morning…

6:00 am

Shower finished. Look at wet hair. Contemplate doing something fancy with wet hair. Immediately put hair in ponytail. Success.

6:01 am

Look at face. Consider putting on makeup. Laugh at mirror and walk away.

6:30 am

En route to school. Stop for unhealthy energy/coffee drink. Caffeine is flooding my veins. Almost awake.

8:00 am

Students enter classroom. First class begins. I’m officially awake.

12:00 pm

Exhausted. Starving. Need food. Can’t. Make. Sentences.

2:50 pm

Last class of the day ends. Half of hair has escaped from elastic.

5:30 pm

Made it home. Looks like I survived the apocalypse.

You may think I’m exaggerating, but I can assure you that I went almost an entire year of teaching wearing my hair in a high bun every single day. Remember that stereotypical librarian with the high bun and glasses? I was that stereotype, in music teacher form.

Since then, I’ve learned how to look a little more put together without entirely abandoning my proclivity for low maintenance. If you’re a morning person, the following tips may not apply to you (also, please give me your secrets).



Not only will this save you time in the morning, but it gives you a chance to calm your mind before bed. If you’re anything like me, it’s your brain that won’t shut off, causing late nights and dreadful mornings.


Dry Shampoo

This is an amazing product, but it took me a long time to find a brand that didn’t:

  • leave the entire house reeking of a scent that was meant to smell fresh (it doesn’t).
  • actually do what it says without costing half a week’s paycheck.

I like this. You may need to experiment with brands before finding one that works for you, but when it does, it makes your life so much easier!

I’m no beauty expert (as proven by my hair story from above), but here’s how I use it:
  • Shake can like crazy
  • Section hair haphazardly and spray directly on the roots (don’t be stingy in this step)
  • Massage it into your scalp until you see no more traces of powder
  • Style as usual/put in a ponytail



This step is not at all necessary. However, being a person that has had skin issues in the past, makeup has become a part of my daily routine. Plus, I think we can all relate to those days in which a student asks,”Miss, you look sick. Are you sick?”

“No honey, that’s how I look with no makeup and a lack of effort.”<–not really how I would respond, but you get the idea. So, here are the items that help me look a little more alive with a lot less effort.

Tinted Moisturizer with SPF

  • It’s three in one, and you can slap it on without worrying too much about blending. You don’t have time for that…
Blush or Bronzer

  • this stuff keeps my extra pale skin from looking as though I’ve just stepped out of the morgue. And again, it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to swipe some of this on your cheeks. If you’re really in a hurry, dot some lipstick on your cheeks and rub it around. Hey, whatever works. Just try to avoid doing this in low-light conditions. The results could end up less than satisfactory. I speak from experience.

Tinted Lip Balm with SPF

  • this is another three in one that will keep you looking a little less dead.


Lay Them Out the Night Before

  • I’m quite nearly six feet tall, and I easily reach that height with any pair of shoes (or socks) I put on. Clothes and I rarely get along. So, I can spare myself a few minutes each morning by getting my outfit ready at night. For me, this means choosing pants that fit, and a shirt that doesn’t require me to pull it down all day long. Comfort is key when you’re constantly folk dancing and jumping around to the steady beat.

Capsule Wardrobe

  • With a teacher’s budget and few clothing options, I participated in the whole capsule wardrobe phenomenon without even realizing it (and my morning self was always thankful). If you’ve never heard of a capsule wardrobe, you can check it out here and here. It will save your wallet along with your sanity.


I’m naturally night owl, but I learned that going to bed early meant a more restful sleep and a happier morning. However, as I mentioned earlier, my brain doesn’t like for me to sleep. So I’ve taken to using the Noisli app. With this app, you can choose different environmental sounds to create your own little dream track. There’s also an adjustable timer so that you can set the sounds to stop at anytime. Hooray for no permanent hearing damage!



Treat yourself to a little something that makes you happy in the morning. Not only will it put you in a better mood (if that’s possible at five in the morning) but it will also give you something to look forward to before the teaching day begins. I would share with you the treat that made my mornings better, but it involves junk food, and I think I may end up being a really bad influence on you. So instead, let’s pretend that my little treat every morning was a celery stick. Delicious.

If you follow all of these tips, you can easily get ready in about 20 minutes or less. However, from what I hear, children can triple the time it takes you to get ready in the morning. And for that I can only say, good luck and may good fortune be with you!

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11 Responses

  1. Can I just say I love this post? Your little morning routine is what I do everyday. LOL Great suggestions for a better morning. I'll be teaching morning choir next year and need to get off my habit of sleeping until the last moment, getting ready in two seconds, eating breakfast in the car, and still being late. Being a night owl is the biggest curse for a teacher and I'm the worst of them all. Seriously, I've already had a couple nights this summer break that I've pulled an all-nighter and not out of necessity to finish a pressing project. It's just my default setting. : )

    1. Haha, thanks! I did early morning choir for one year I think, before switching to after school. I just couldn't handle the early mornings. The kids couldn't handle them very well either 😉 Yep, I hear you on the night owl thing. I feel like I'm the most awake and most creative at night. I even keep a notebook next to my bed to write down ideas/thoughts, because I can't fall asleep otherwise 🙂

  2. Ok. So can I just say I LOVE your suggestions and they are much better than the suggestions I would make.

    Mine would be something like this:
    (My alarm goes off at 6… I normally don't roll out of bed until 6:30 and I have to be to work for 7…)
    Only shower every 2-3 days, then if it is supposed to be a shower day just throw your hair up if you don't have time that day. Otherwise, take a shower in about 10 minutes.
    Brush hair quickly and put it up if it is a bad hair day… if not leave it be. 🙂 Maybe add a headband
    Skip the makeup – don't have time…
    Clothes? – Umm. What is clean and looks ok… Did I wear this last Monday? I hope not… (My students actually comment if they notice I wore the same thing the week before and I can never remember one week from the last…)

    And Go! You are already late!

    Hahaha! I'm so awful in the mornings…

    1. Lol, I got into a really bad habit of drinking Monster Mean Bean energy drinks every morning, and I often paired that with an egg mcmuffin. So I definitely know what you mean. Morning are always hard for me…

  3. I have a 2 year old, long commute, 1st period chorus, middle of the day chorus, and end of the day chorus with general music peppered in there. So it's like you are talking directly to me! The students actually were the ones to convince me to stop drinking energy drinks!

    1. Wow, smart students you have there, also very sweet for being concerned about your health! Whenever my elementary students saw coffee sitting on my desk, they would ask for some. I would make a joke and say "no". Sometimes, as they were grabbing a kleenex from my desk, they would see an empty energy drink can in the trash and ask me about it. That really made me feel like a bad influence, and I was much more careful about where I threw them away after that 🙂 Kids are so observant!

  4. I do most of these things…I also do a lot of kitchen prep on the weekends. I prepare meats and veggies ahead of time and put them together at night…The other thing I do fairly religiously is to stretch and meditate each morning before I attempt to get dressed:) Great article.

    1. I like that you purposely stretch every morning. I usually do the standard I-just-woke-up-but-want-to-go-back-to-sleep stretch, but nothing major. I bet stretching in the morning would do me some good, maybe get my blood flowing and wake me up along with my coffee 🙂

  5. This last year I got five identical polo shirts and used my embroidery machine to put the school logo on them. Then I purchased four identical pair of khakis capris and I wore a uniform to work in a building that doesn't require uniforms. I had to explain a few times the first six weeks but this coming year several teachers are joining me. It was really a liberating experience & I'll never go back to the old way. Over spring break I gave away 70% of my no longer needed clothes. Less to think about and less to clean has been revolutionary to my routine.

    1. I so wish I would've thought of doing that!! I struggled every year to find clothes that fit (I'm 6 ft. tall), and I rarely ever felt comfortable while dancing around with the students. I wish all schools were more realistic about what we do each day, and just allow us to wear clothes that we can move in comfortably, as well as dropping the dress shoe requirement that some schools still maintain. Thanks for sharing your idea! I bet lots of teachers would be thrilled to adopt it to save them time and stress 🙂