Let’s Recombobulate

Suzanne DaileyBlog, Lesson Plan Better, Reflect Better, Teach Happier


  • Recombobulate is an amazing word that means to cause to think again or reorient.
  • Let’s get in the right mindset for the school year.
  • Each day, say the entire date aloud. It reminds you that today is not only temporary but a fresh start and a new opportunity.
  • Reclaim quiet pockets of time at the very beginning and end of each day.

Favorite Words

Do you have a favorite word? For my 42 years on Earth, I’ve loved words like pumpkin, lunch, and lovely.  

Now I have a new word to add to that short list: recombobulate. I can’t stop saying this word out loud and thinking about its meaning and what it means to us as teachers. 

Go ahead. Give yourself a minute to say it out loud. Recombobulate. It’s fun, right? I heard it for the first time in June from author Anne Cruzan.  I am sure many of us are familiar with the word discombobulate, as we know what it means and how it feels, especially after this past school year. But as we begin August, the “Sunday of Summer,” let’s see what we can learn from the word recombobulate in efforts to get into the healthiest headspace and heart space for our upcoming school year. 

What Does Recombobulate Mean?

Here’s the official definition of recombobulate: To cause to think clearly again; to reorient; to put back into working order. As we enter August, we’ve regained our collective breath, our shoulders have had some time to come down a bit, and we feel a bit more content, aligned, and balanced. 

So how does one recombobulate? Maybe this summer you went to an airport where after security, there was a designated Recombobulation Area. It was a fun way of saying “get your stuff scattered from security and get it back in order.” 

Grab our scattered “stuff” and get it back in order?! Yes, please. 

I recently read Keep Moving by Maggie Smith where she talked about metamorphosis, which is a recombobulation of sorts. She says, “A caterpillar liquefies, then reconstitutes itself…the most fascinating part? The butterfly may actually carry in it knowledge and memories from its first iteration…It carries inside it the old life while living the new one, which allows it to fly” (156). 

I’m not saying we need to liquefy ourselves, but we can take this time to take a deep breath and take stock of our past knowledge and memories. This allows us to reconstitute, reconstruct, or recombobulate a few small things in an effort to begin this new upcoming school year as healthy and whole as possible.  

We can take this time to take a deep breath and take stock of our past knowledge and memories. Click To Tweet

Recombobulation in Action

Here are a few ways I have worked to recombobulate this summer: 

To help keep me anchored to the day ahead, I have implemented a strategy Kelly Corrigan recently shared on her podcast July 1st. At the beginning of each day, she says the whole date out loud. “Today is Monday, August 1, 2022.” Saying the date out loud reminds her she will never have a Monday, August 1, 2022, ever again. It helps her recognize the opportunities of the day ahead and align her intentions to how she will move through that day. It does the same for me, but it also reminds me that whatever happens that day, for better or for worse, is temporary and not permanent. I have tried this and this small shift in thought has positively impacted my thoughts, language, and actions as I move through that day. 

One more way I have worked towards recombobulation? Reclaiming quiet pockets of time at the very beginning and end of the day. With a husband who works from home and two young teenagers, summer schedules are kind of non-existent in my house. We all have rolling times we wake up, there are days there’s not a meal to be had and we graze all day, and bedtimes are…whatever. Because of the lack of routine, the days can sometimes feel like one big gray blur. Reclaiming quiet time on the porch in the morning with coffee and curling up with a book at night helps calm my mind, soothe my body, center my spirit, and steady my heart.   

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Looking Ahead to the 22-23 School Year

Let’s revisit that definition of recombobulate: To cause to think clearly again; to reorient; to put back into working order. What small shifts in your thoughts, language, or actions can help you recombobulate so that you can enter this upcoming school year feeling as centered and aligned as possible? 

In a world of constant movement with endless choices and decisions and responsibilities and commitments, it’s so easy to feel discombobulated. But we have the power to do the opposite and recombobulate. We can reorient our lives and get things back into working order. 

This August, let’s bring our past experiences, knowledge, and memories to reflect, recalibrate, and reorient for a healthier, happier future.  

Let’s recombobulate.  

Let’s fly. 

Small Shifts, BIG Gifts!

How can you recombobulate before this new school year begins? Consider small shifts in your thoughts, language, or actions that can help you “put things back into working order” so when you enter this upcoming school year, you feel as centered and aligned as possible.


About Suzanne Dailey

Suzanne Dailey is a proud member of the Teach Better Family! She is an instructional coach in the Central Bucks School District where she has the honor and joy of working with elementary teachers and students in 15 buildings. Suzanne is Nationally Board Certified, a Fellow of the National Writing Project, and has a master’s degree in Reading. She is dedicated to nurturing and developing the whole child and teacher. Suzanne lives in Doylestown, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

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