Dare we say it?
September is coming.
Grab your stationary, throw away the joggers, check you have nothing in your diary for the next three months, and get ready for the twenty-five new faces that are about to become your second family. It’s easy to find it all a little overwhelming, especially after a wonderful month off and you finally remembering what sleeping in feels like, but it’s time to prepare for a busy new term.
Whilst it may feel like you have everything under control, it’s better to check, double-check and check again that you’re ready for whatever those first few weeks throw at you. So whether you’re a brand new teacher or have years of experience, here’s our go to prep list to help you warm up for the exciting term ahead…
- Back to school supplies list. Have too much of everything and anything.
- List of names with photographs – get a head start on learning the team!
- Set alarms a few days early and ease yourself in.
- Download a schedule/buy a desk diary, yes it’s obvious but always forgotten about. Planning is key!
- Personal survival kit = sewing/safety pins/teabags/tissues/plasters/coffee/bottle of water. Yes these things don’t make you a better teacher, but they make life in certain situations less stressful. Laminate a ‘what to do if I’m not here’ instruction sheet and have it on your desk.
- Supply teachers will love this and it keeps you at ease.
- Prepare a plan that means you finish your class with an activity that gets them all working together. By doing this you finish your class on a high, leaving your students excited about what they’ll be doing in the next class.
- Have a handful of exciting ‘get to know you’ tasks so that everyone can ease themselves in.
- Cutlery holders, plant pots and empty jars make great stationary holders. The more the merrier (and the tidier).
- Read through student files to help determine placement in groups and activities.
- Give your classroom the wow factor, it’ll help to inspire learning.
- Treat yourself to something nice, it’s not just about the children!
- Had 5 minute tasks at hand, they’ll save you when you have to nip out of the classroom or need to round-up everyone’s attention.
- Old notes/work/plans hanging around from last year? Stash or trash! Added clutter will only distract you once the term begins.
- Reflect on the way you work – what will you change about this year? How will you handle certain situations differently? What are you great at?
- For some children the thought of going back to school is daunting. What may be helpful is talking through the events of the last year and anything else that is on their mind.
- Grab and create a system for absent work so that you can save time and limit classroom interruption.
- Having a timer in the classroom can be useful for a variety of different tasks.
- Encourage students to contribute a set of expectations about behaviour. Try to keep your list to a minimum so that students can remember and understand the entire list.
Additional bits and bobs to consider (but don’t feel too pressured!)
- To keep parents in the loop, create a daily or weekly progress report for all students.
- During the first week of school create a student inventory checklist. This will help students, and yourself, keep track of all items that students bring in.
- Send welcome letters home to parents to introduce yourself – include expectations regarding behaviour and homework and a bit about what the year will entail!
- It’s important for teachers to be connected, as it helps them grow professionally – set yourself up on some social networks and share/compare your ideas.
- Track your students results by documenting them in a ‘grade book’. This will help you to easily see where your students are doing well, improving, or letting their marks slip.