While kids and parents are relaxing through the last days of summer, teachers are back to work, preparing their classrooms, lesson plans, and trying to make everything ready for the start of the school year. For new teachers and experienced alike, this is a stressful time but there are four easy steps to ensuring that you are as prepared as possible for the coming year.
Get your data together
Knowing your students is a key factor to your classes running well. While you will certainly conduct ice breakers and talk to students about interests, you can get a head start on getting to know your students with good data and research. Call ahead to parents or make a special effort to meet them on open house night. Chat with former teachers to get an overview of student needs. Your school will also have a records room where files contain information on behavioral issues, individualized education plans, special needs, and past academic performance. These files can provide a wealth of information to ensure that you have a clear picture of your classes before your students ever arrive.
Get your room in order
Your classroom is your home away from home and since you spend so much time in it, you need to have it ready to go, organized, and comfortable. Decorate your room to be warm and friendly to students of the appropriate age group. Consider posters and inspirational pictures and sayings to help encourage students or to share important information. Don’t forget to laminate anything you want to last! Make sure that your desk, files, books, and supplies are all organized and well ordered. It will save you time and stress throughout the year if you know where your materials are. For experienced and returning teachers, don’t forget to clean out your desks and closets! Old macaroni projects look adorable until they’ve been buried in a corner for five years. Gross!
Review your calendar
Give yourself an idea of what the coming weeks and months will look like before they arrive. Examine your school calendar and mark out important dates for holidays and testing. You should also check out important parent dates, fields trips, and other special events and label them clearly. Be sure you know when your staff and department meetings are too. Having a clear, combined calendar of important events and deadlines is important to keeping up with your work load. You should also examine your curriculum and pacing maps to ensure that you have enough time to plan lessons and prepare students for their learning goals.
Get yourself ready and in the right head space
Being a teacher is tough work and it can be hard to come back from summer and hit the ground running. Take some time to gear yourself up with the right mentality. Remind yourself that all students can learn and that you can help them. Remind yourself that you can learn too and set goals to work on areas you may have struggled with last year. A sticky note or framed quote on your desk can help you remember your yearly goal or mindset. Above all, get yourself in a positive mindset to ensure that the coming year is a positive and progressive one.