Picture this; it’s summer and your brain knows teacher duty days are right around the corner so you want to prioritize 3 things you can do before the new school year starts . As much as we try not to think about the new school year, it’s more difficult for some of us. No matter what your struggles are, if you are able to disconnect or not, these 3 things will get you off to the right start when you go back to school!
Instead of stepping away from the margarita and sunshine so you could make a list of everything you need to prep during your teacher duty days, I made one for you. But, I want to start with being clear that I am not telling you to work during your summer. These are actionable things that you can get done on your contracted day(s) before students start with you.
1. Get Your First Week of School Handouts Ready
One of the first things I truly believe your time should go on your teacher prep days during back to school is getting your first week of school handouts and slideshow(s) ready to go! Look, let’s be real. That first week of school is BRUTAL. Every year, at least one thing goes wrong, there is at least one fire to put out, one student on the wrong roster, etc.
Focus on what you have control over and that will give you the flexibility you need when those things pop up those first weeks of school by picking one or all of these things to do for the new school year.
First Week of School Handout and Slideshow Ideas:
- Class Syllabus: Get your class syllabus or overview page done. If you have one that simply needs to be adjusted for this year’s dates, perfect! Don’t start from scratch if you don’t have to.
- If you’re looking for a template, this is the one I use- click here.
- Student-Family Contract: Do you send out a contract of any sort to verify that families understand your class? If so, get that made, edited, and printed.
- First Week of School Slideshow: If you present your information in the form of a slideshow those first weeks, make sure it is updated to reflect the new school year. My first week of school slideshow has everything from my “about me”, classroom expectations, ice breakers, all the way to my grading policy. Having this done will save you so much time and stress those first days because as you finish one school day, you can just pick up on the next day on the following slide. That is exactly what I do easily using this template.
- Daily Slideshow: Do you use a daily slideshow, agenda slides, or bell ringer? I highly suggest using a template if you don’t already because they will save you a ton of time for the entire year. Definitely get that first week of days done, but try to prep the first 2-3 weeks to give you a jump start. I prep my week’s slideshow in less than 10 minutes every week. You can see the template I use here. You can also download this free template in my TpT store– click here!
Now, if you have the time during your teacher duty days before school starts, take it a step further and get all of the copies DONE for all of those documents. You know it never fails that one morning when you are running late, you get to the copy machine to make your copies and it is jammed. (Side note: Don’t be the person who leaves the copy machine jammed and walks away!) Save yourself the time and headache if you can and copy off all of those first week handouts.
2. Plan And Prep Your Back To School Activities
Those first weeks of school (and honestly months) are filled with so many things, but building that classroom community with get to know you activities and ice-breakers are a key piece for setting the tone. There are thousands and thousands of activities out there. If you’ve been teaching more than a year, you probably have a few ideas in your toolbox. If you are a new teacher, then I would especially encourage you to get this figured out in advance.
Number 2 of 3 things you can do before the new school year is to plan out and prep your activities for that first week! I’ll give you an example, one of my go to activities the first few days of school is my Tumbling Towers Back to School Edition game.
What I do to make sure I am prepped for this is:
- Count how many game mats I have to be sure I have enough for the number of students I’ll get this school year. If I am short, I print and laminate whatever is needed.
- I like to have a slide that displays the directions. I find/make my slide and add it to my first week of school slideshow.
- I locate my tumbling tower sets and count them. I also do a quick scan to make sure none of the sets are missing any blocks. If they are, I take that set out and replace it with a new one.
- I set them in an area together where I will be able to quickly grab them when I need them on the day of.
I repeat that process for each of my back to school activities so that I am ready to grab and go that first week. Again, if possible… make any copies that you’ll need ahead of time! It’s these small things that add up to something bigger in the midst of back to school season stress.
3. Relax and Breath
Yeah I am serious, just relax and chill out. I am literally the queen of high-stress and anxiety. I overthink everything, overanalyze everything, and have a hard time not knowing what is going to happen. Does this sound like you when you are approaching a new school year?
I’m nowhere near perfect and I still struggle with these things in waves, but I have learned the last few years that by doing #1 and #2 on this list, I am able to feel a little more relaxed going into the new school year. Take a minute and reflect on what you absolutely need to have done to feel “ready” going into the new year. Whatever comes to mind, write it down and make it your priority when you go back for your teacher duty days. It may or may or may not include numbers 1-2 on this list, but prioritize for yourself.
If you’re reading this during summer vacation, this applies to right now as well. Enjoy these final moments of summer, soak them in, and refuel so that you can go into the new year feeling excited, rested, and inspired. Yes, there will be work as we approach the new school year, but this is your time right now.
The Start of A Fresh Start This School Year
I am wishing you all of the positivity, inspiration, and peace as you step into a new school year. If you’re taking the time to read this, I’m almost positive it’s because you share the same love, passion, and inspiration for teaching that I do. Back to school is an exciting time because we have the power to start fresh and new. If you found this blog post helpful, I also made a quick Youtube video explaining these 3 things you can watch below. I hope these 3 things you can do before the new school year helped ease a little worry off of your plate!