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Back To School Teacher Tips For A Better Start To The Year

Prepare for a successful school year with these back to school teacher tips. Reflect on last year, gather resources, and prioritize self-care.
Prepare for a successful school year with these back to school teacher tips. Reflect on last year, gather resources, and prioritize self-care.

Absolutely take some time off over the summer. It’s essential to recharge! Then, with purposeful preparation, you can set yourself up for a better start to the year (and the rest of the year, too!) Being organized and prepared doesn’t have to take all your time, but it will pay off when school starts up again. 

Here’s our guide for teachers during the summer on how to prepare for a new school year. 

Back to school teacher tip #1: Start by reflecting

Start by looking back on the last school year. Journal or take some notes in response to these questions: 

  • What worked well? What do you definitely want to do again next year? 
  • What was most challenging or didn’t go as planned? 
  • What worked/didn’t work about the flow of your day or classroom processes? 
  • What worked/didn’t work about the setup of your classroom? 
  • Where did you have communication breakdowns (with students, parents, other teachers, administrators, and others)? 
  • What support did you have this year? What support was missing that would have been helpful? 

If you have ideas about improving things that didn’t work well, jot those down too. If you don’t yet, don’t worry. We’ll talk through some different areas, and you can revisit and brainstorm. Knowing what worked and didn’t is a good starting point for now. 

This is also a time to set goals for the new school year. Some ideas are setting personal development goals, communicating better, and establishing better work-life balance boundaries. 

Back to school teacher tip #2: Get organized

Being organized is one of the most important things you can do because it makes everything else flow more smoothly. Three areas to organize:

  • Your classroom itself—Take some time to find ways to make your space work better. Do you need a different physical space setup? Do you need organizers like boxes for finished work or space for things leaving the classroom? Are your supplies and materials easy to access? 
  • Your lesson plans — Consider a scope and sequence to help you organize what you teach and when. Spend some time reading, researching, and creating new lessons (or finding quality done for you lessons).

Prepare for a successful school year with these back to school teacher tips. Reflect on last year, gather resources, and prioritize self-care.

This doesn’t have to feel like drudgery. Sit outside, have a cool drink, and preview books you might use in your classroom, think about how you can use them. Or try new games you could add to your literacy corner or lessons. The Spelling Game Challenge is a great way to test some out. 

Get the Spelling Game Challenge: 

  • Your materials — Put books in your library back in order. Check games for missing pieces. Make a list of general supplies you need to update.

    Organize materials by term or month if you know when you will use something. Keep things you will send out before school starts or anything you will use in the first weeks of school handy. 

Prepare for a successful school year with these back to school teacher tips. Reflect on last year, gather resources, and prioritize self-care.

Back to school teacher tip #3: Get resourced

Organizing your lesson plans and materials will likely reveal things you don’t have but want for your classroom. For example, you might need more math games or word lists to help with your phonics lessons or add more games to your toolbox. Make getting these resources part of your summer prep. 

  • Create any resources you have in mind or — buy new resources you need. 
  • Schedule time to print and laminate any worksheets, activities, or games. Put extra pieces like spinners, dice, markers, pawns for a game, or collections in a bag and store them with the correct items.

For example, if you need more spelling games, try any from this list: 

Phonics Bingo Games for CVC, CVCC, CCVC and More

Phonics Snakes and Ladders Games – Basic Code

Roll and Write Phonics Games – Basic Code

Spelling Board Games for CVC and CVCC Spelling Words

Classroom Spelling Games for Advanced Spelling Words

Spelling Card Game for Advanced Spelling Patterns

Phonics Bingo Spelling Game – Advanced Code

Prepare for a successful school year with these back to school teacher tips. Reflect on last year, gather resources, and prioritize self-care.

You can try a variety of spelling games with the free Spelling Game Challenge. 

Get the Spelling Game Challenge: 

Summer is also a great time for professional development. You may have identified interests and needs in your self-assessment/reflection. If you don’t do it during the summer, you can spend some time researching and signing up for classes or workshops. 

Back to school teacher tip #4: Get refreshed (and stay that way) 

I started off by saying you should take some time to recharge. Draining yourself further is not how to prepare for a new school year for teachers! 

Take some time off completely. Do something you find relaxing and enjoyable. 

This is also a good time to set up some self-care routines. They don’t have to be complex or take a lot of time, but you could start working a walk or brief meditation into your day. You could figure out some new nourishing lunch ideas that are quick to prep — and easy to eat even if you are working through lunch. 

Consider boundaries, too. When will you leave school each day? What time will you set aside for yourself and your family? What are your non-negotiables when it comes to time out of school? 

Resetting self-care and boundaries can help start a new year without getting drained immediately. 

What’s your favorite back-to-school teacher tip for summer prep?

Prepare for a successful school year with these back to school teacher tips. Reflect on last year, gather resources, and prioritize self-care.

 

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