Back to School Tips for Teachers

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Getting back to school after the summer is not just hard for children; it can be challenging for teachers as well! The tips in this lesson will help you with a smooth transition into the school year.

Back to School

Getting back to school after summer vacation comes with all sorts of feelings for teachers. Maybe you are disappointed that vacation is ending, or maybe you are excited to get started again. Maybe you are full of goals and plans for the year, or perhaps you are worried about starting fresh with an entirely new group of students. In all likelihood, you are feeling some combination of the above, and it probably helps a little to know that whatever you are feeling, your colleagues feel it to! This lesson will help you get into the frame of mind for starting the year off right by giving you some tips for a smooth return to school.

Classroom Tips

One of the most important things you can do as you return to school is to set up your classroom well. This section gives you some tips for how to organize yourself for the new school year.

Minimalism works.

At the beginning of the year, you might be so excited that you are tempted to put out everything at once. You have so many supplies and projects to introduce your students to and so many posters to decorate your walls. Yet it is actually helpful to start with the bare minimum and add things gradually as the year progresses. Empty walls will encourage students to do their own good work to cover them, and putting out too many supplies at once can be overwhelming.

Focus on organization.

Starting the school year off on the right foot means coming up with organizational systems that will stand you in good stead for the rest of the year. Have files ready for your students' work and bins labeled for all your necessary supplies. Putting time into organization up front will save you stress later on. Determine what rules and expectations will be important to you, and think about how you will give students different opportunities to practice following your guidelines.

Put out students' names.

Especially in the elementary grades, but also in middle and high school, it is important to make sure your students enter your classroom knowing you expect them and want them there. Put students' names in as many different places as possible, whether this means labeling notebooks and folders, having name charts on the wall, or labeling coat hooks and cubbies.

Planning Tips

Having some good plans in place can also make all the difference in starting the school year off right and making you feel on top of things.

Over-plan your first day.

Because you do not know your students yet, it is a good idea to plan a little more than you need to for your first few days of school. It is better to have too many plans than too few; you can always go back to these ideas later.

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