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Starting the Year Off Right

By Angela Padron

It’s that time again, when teachers decorate classrooms and prepare lessons, and students of all ages shop for supplies and new clothes for a brand new school year. Many teachers find the start of the school year quite hectic. Between having to decorate and organize classrooms, to meetings, paperwork, lesson plans, assessments, and establishing routines, it can feel like you’re falling into a never-ending pit of responsibilities.

There are a few things teachers can do to ensure they have a successful school year. And so that they don’t feel too overwhelmed before the school year even starts.

  • Make a supplies list – not for the students but for yourself! A few weeks before school starts, create a list of supplies you need to gather or buy for your classroom. Here is a list suggested by Education World that gives you the basics to get started.
  • To avoid spending a lot of money, see what you have in your house or what can be donated. A great site to register for is Adopt a Classroom where family and friends can donate and provide funds for you to buy the supplies you need.
  • Start that To Do list: Along with the supplies list, come up with a list of tasks you need to complete before the school year starts. Do you have your bulletin board ideas ready? Do you know what the theme of your classroom will be? Do you have a lesson plan book and grade book ready? Are you familiar with your grade level’s expectations and standards? What will your classroom management plan be? Be sure to have a strong one and stick with it, even on the first day of school all the way to the last minute.
  • Plan the first day! Come up with some icebreaker activities for students to get to know you and for you to get to know them. For example, create a scavenger hunt for students to find things in the room or information on the Internet that could tell them about you. Play a game of Hot Potato while playing an inspiring song. Whoever is holding the ball when the music stops has to tell the class something about themselves. Have a worksheet on the students’ desks giving them directions to do something quietly and independently when they arrive.

I know teachers like to enjoy their time off in the summer vacationing, relaxing, or working at another job to earn extra money. But taking a few minutes each week in the summer and planning ahead will help save time and stress once the school year kicks in.

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