As educators well know, the beginning of a new school year can be overwhelming for all involved. Parents are anxious about leaving their children in the hands of others. Students are anxious to do well and not fall behind. And teachers, from first-year educators to veterans, are anxious to instill knowledge into a new group of students while managing their classroom and keeping an eye on the health and emotional well-being of each child.
While we can’t take all the first-day jitters away, some of the following tips might help make that first day – and the rest of the year – more enjoyable for you, your students, and their parents.
As with most things, early planning is the key. “Once report week starts, there’s lots of new information and tons to do,” said Mary Worthington, kindergarten teacher at Minneha Core Knowledge Magnet Elementary School in Wichita, Kansas. She likes to begin going to her classroom to prepare about a month before she’s scheduled to report. “That way I can work it into my schedule and go when I want to get things done at a relaxed pace, rather than feeling rushed and trying to set things up while integrating all the new information for the year.”
But prepping your classroom early is just half the battle. The other half is having a solid plan in place. What needs to be done first? Is there any new curriculum you’ll have to familiarize yourself with? What’s the best way to engage your students right from the start?
- Create a back-to-school preplanning checklist to ensure you capture all the details.
- Make sure you have all the classroom supplies and materials you need.
- Prepare welcome packs to lower student anxiety.
- Review your lessons plans for the first week.
- Print and laminate any resources you need for at least the first week.
- Establish a communication system with parents.
Need Some Quick, Easy Activities?
Sometimes, even the best plans get derailed. In those cases, it pays to have a well-stocked cabinet of go-to activities such as our Try This Kits. These fun kits are designed to show basic concepts in 20 minutes or less.
Take Care of Who? Take Care of You!
Teachers might recognize this saying as one used to prevent tattling, but it’s also great advice to take to heart when preparing for the school year. Your students deserve the best you, and if you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll only be giving them a stressed-out version of you.
So let us help! Download your copy of this quick digital resource, designed specifically with educators in mind, that has some gentle reminders on how to manage stress. It’s free; no strings attached!
So, in the midst of printing, laminating, decorating, and planning, make sure you take time to relax and enjoy the last few days of summer. “After prepping, I give myself at least a week of doing absolutely nothing before I have to report,” said Worthington. “That way, everything is done, I’m not stressed out, and I get a little break before we have to go back.”
What are your best tactics? Tell us on social media or comment below. We know you’re all brilliant and it’s our favorite thing seeing teachers sharing and inspiring other teachers.
Whatever your plans, Pitsco wishes you the best school year ever!