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First Day of school preparation

It begins in the summer!

First Day of School Preparation
May 25, 2022 Melissa Poliseno

First Day of School Preparation for Fall Begins in the Summer

It’s finally summer, and first day of school preparation is probably the last thing on any teacher’s mind. If you are like most teachers, decompressing from nine months of being in the classroom, you are probably thinking about Memorial Day barbecues, long relaxing pedicures and weekend getaways. But, putting in just a little extra effort now will make a world of difference when fall rolls around.

You’ve worked hard all year. Trust me. I’m not suggesting you power through the whole summer without taking advantage of the freedom these next three months will offer. So, go ahead. Spend the first weeks of summer sleeping in and enjoying the silence. Once you’ve had a chance to catch your breath, think about working in a few simple habits to prepare for the first day of school. It’s all about striking that balance. And setting aside just two hours a week toward things like classroom organization or honing your teaching skills will set you up for success in the upcoming school year.

Here is a handy first day of school preparation checklist for teachers

Never stop learning

Channel your inner student, and dive deep into some new subject matter. Maybe you need to brush up on your Google Classroom knowledge. Or perhaps you are ready to ditch your pen and paper for a digital notetaking system like Evernote. See if your local library offers a technology class you can take for free. Udemy.com and LinkedIn Learning are also great resources for learning new software. They offer quality instruction at a minimal cost. Some courses allow you to master the basics in as little as two hours and be confident and prepared for the first day of school.

Here are a few simple Google Classroom tutorials for beginners to get you started. Imagine how much you can learn in just a few minutes a day!

Brainstorm new ideas for your classroom

For many teachers who are gifted with innovation and imagination, brainstorming new ideas can be a fun and relaxing way to pass time in the summer. Grab yourself an iced latte and take your laptop poolside. I don’t know about you, but I can easily get lost in a Pinterest rabbit hole of never-ending ideas. Make some classroom organization boards on Pinterest. Create a YouTube playlist of your favorite educator tips. Join a Facebook Group for teachers to find community and exchange ideas with other teachers. By the time you finish that latte, you’ll have a plethora of new ideas to implement in the fall.

Get organized

Lesson Organization:

Think about how much smoother the upcoming school year would be if you had even just one lesson a week planned out. Splurge a little. Buy yourself a beautiful lesson plan book and some nice pens that make you smile. Take an hour a week during the summer to plan out a lesson. You could have 10-12 lessons ready to go to make the school year so much less stressful.

Classroom Organization:

Each time you go to Target, swing by the dollar section to stock up on supplies and décor that make your classroom an organized and welcoming space for your students. You’ll find adorable and inexpensive items teachers love like stationery, notepads, and even flashcards.

Check out the video below for first day of school preparation tips for an efficient and organized classroom. It includes a breakdown on the top 10 classroom organization favorites.

Classroom Management Organization:

Start thinking about how your policies and procedures are working out. For instance, do you need to reconsider a behavior chart system? Is your bathroom or hall pass policy working well? Make a list of classroom management policies and procedures you used this past year and assess what worked well and what you will need to update.

Here are three of my favorite creative classroom management ideas to try:

I’m Done Choice Board

Students can get antsy and sometimes even disruptive while waiting for the next activity. For those who need a little extra something to pass the time while waiting for their classmates to finish up, giving them the power to choose can build confidence and help bust boredom. Check out this beautifully designed “I’m Done” choice board from @acupcakefortheteacher

Self-Assessment Bins

Put the power in the student’s hands to assess where they need a little extra help. This idea from @talesfromaverybusyteacher consists of having three different bins students can chose to turn their work in to. The student gets to pick where to turn in their work based on how confident they are feeling about the skill they are learning. Plus, it allows teachers to easily recognize and address lessons that need more time and attention.

Unique Class Coupons

This beats a treasure box and won’t break the bank! Fill a divider box with fun and colorful reward coupons for completed assignments and positive behavior. Proudtobeprimary.com has some unique rewards to get you inspired like wearing sunglasses, bringing a stuffed animal, or dressing up in costume for the day.

Prepare yourself financially

Some teachers feel the burden of not receiving a regular paycheck in the summer, and that can cause added stress. This is especially true when added expenses like classroom supplies come up in the fall. Make things easier on yourself by talking to your payroll administrator about spreading your salary over 12 months instead of 9. This may ease the headache of budgeting in summer months. Many districts already offer this convenience, but if yours doesn’t, have the conversation earlier in the year. Enlist the support of your fellow teachers to see if your school will be willing to provide this option.

If the absence of a paycheck in the summer becomes an issue, you may want to put some extra effort this summer toward starting a side hustle. Getting creative with the right approach can actually bring in passive income for years to come. Consider a platform like Teacherspayteachers.com. This is an online storefront that allows teachers to sell their original digital lesson plans, classroom organization systems, and worksheets to other teachers for a small fee.

Recharge

This summer is a perfect time for teachers to get a jump on first day of school preparation. But it is also a perfect time to reset your mind, body, and soul to enter the classroom in the fall feeling renewed and refreshed.

Find that work life balance, and take advantage of the time you have outside the classroom this summer to care for yourself. Perhaps you feel guilty prioritizing your own needs during the school year when you are so focused on caring for others. Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve done something special just for you. You’ve earned it!

Lean into something you love and give yourself something to smile about. Is there a pottery class you’ve always wanted to take? Do you need a weekend away to reconnect with friends you’ve been too busy to chat with during the school year? What is it that makes your heart happy? Whether it’s getting connected to nature with morning walks or a Netflix marathon of your favorite series, soak up those moments now. A little self-care now can improve your overall health and help you start off on the right foot in the fall.

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