Summer flies by faster than hummingbird wings, and before you know it’s time to get ready to go back to school. It is one thing to get students back on schedule, waking up early and going to bed early, but what about teachers?
Returning to work starts long before school actually starts. And as much as teachers look forward to starting a new school year, there are things they can do to make the transition as easy as possible for both themselves and their students.
One of the first things you need to do is to make a timeline so you know what is due when. Writing it all down makes it real. Write down meetings and seminars you need to attend, decide how you want to set up your classroom, and gather your materials for your STEAM projects along with other projects. Trust me. It is so much easier to go with the flow when you’ve worked out and written a schedule to keep you on task.
There’s so much to do before your first day in the classroom. This easy-to-follow checklist from Scholastic will have you relaxed and ready for your students and their parents to arrive!
- Plan your bulletin boards.
- Decide where you want to post announcements, menus, and calendars.
- Prepare a welcome back display.
- Designate boards for subject area work, and boards for students to design.
- Decide where you want to display your students’ original work.
- Set up two or three learning centers to get started.
- Create signs for your room to help your students learn classroom rules and routines.
- Prepare your class rolls and permanent records.
- Post a cheery sign with your name outside the door along with a class list. Students and parents will appreciate it when they go looking for the right room.
- Make student name tags for desks (unless you are planning to have the students make their own).
- Find out your students’ schedules for lunch, gym, art, music, and library.
- Gather and organize all your supplies:
- Textbooks and supplemental materials
- Plan books
- Classroom reading books and read-aloud titles
- Attendance materials
- Paper clips
- Various types of paper (e.g., writing, construction, math)
- Different kinds of tape
- Post-It® Notes
- Grade book
- Rubber bands
- Stapler and staples
- Prepare take-home packets for your students. Some of the items you’ll want to include are:
- Emergency forms
- School rules
- Supply list
- Bus or transportation rule
- Welcome message to parents/request for room parents
- Find out which students may be going to special classes.
- Check out library books for students and books for read alouds.
- Set up a folder for a substitute to use in case of emergency, containing the following:
- Daily schedule
- Seating chart
- Reproducible activities
- Prepare a file for correspondence from parents.
- Prepare a file for faculty bulletins.
- Obtain a copy of state and district curriculum standards.
- Write tentative lesson plans for the coming week or two.
- Make copies of materials you’ll be handing out during the first few days.
- Write your name and other important class information on the board.
- Make a checklist for returned forms (can be used later for report cards and other items).
Intend to connect with each student the first day of class. Remember, not every student will have experienced patience or kindness over the summer, so be the one to reassure them that they’re in the right place with the right people. Ask students how they spent their summer. Create a task or craft reflecting one good memory. Call each student by name and say something special to each one. You will help calm their nerves and open the door to real communication.
Some teachers make lessons plans for the whole season; others do them on a month-to-month or week-to-week basis. Be sure to keep ahead of your daily classroom duties, for nothing is worse than slapping something together at the last minute. Both you and your students will suffer.
The first day of school will come and go, and your students will adjust to you and your style. Make that style friendly, open, and concerned. Enjoy each day as it comes, trials, tribulations, successes, and all.