The beginning of a brand new school year is just around the corner for many of us! As overwhelming as it can be, I always look forward to a fresh start. Last weekend, I was reflecting on my vision for this upcoming year...things I want to remember, improve, try, or scratch off completely. This inspired me to ask the teachers who follow my Facebook page to share their #1 back to school tips with me. Whether you've been teaching for a long time, you're just starting out, or somewhere in between, the tips are really great reminders for us all! So, sit back, relax, and enjoy some of the wonderful wisdom that was shared from real educators....
"Get back into the routine of waking up earlier and not taking naps during the day. I suggest slowly getting up earlier each day for a couple of days (or weeks) until you are getting up at your normal school time. This will be less of a shock on you and your body."
"Take time to breathe! The beginning of the school year is filled with anticipation, excitement, and often a little anxiety! Things don't have to be perfect to be just right for our little ones."
"Go to sleep! In my first few years I've tended to stress and stay up late getting things ready for the first day/week. I've found that everything always gets done, but the week goes much smoother if I'm rested"
"I try not to listen to and/or read too much about my new students. I find it works better to meet each students with a clean slate and start the year off with all positives."
"Set expectation day 1! It's easier to lighten up then it is to tighten up! 21 years of experience has taught me this."
"Be ready with the routines that you KNOW you want to have in place, and be prepared to practice until it "looks and sounds" like you expect"
"Prayer walk your classroom the morning of the first day. Stop at each students desk and pray, your desk, any stations or center or places where students will be. Pray for their home lives, hearts to be open to connect with their teacher, and pray for their families. It helps me to focus on THEM and THEIR needs."
"Remember that building community, relationships, and trust between you and the students is so important and it's what they'll remember! Everyone has a story....we just need to listen!"
"Remember to take things slow. We all feel a rush to dice into all thigs academic, but spending time building relationships with students and among them, modeling and practicing routines and procedures without the added pressure of academics will pay off BIG in the long run. It's what allows teachers to teach and students to learn in a safe, caring, and respectful classroom!"
"Collect parent donated school supplies in baskets. Basket of glue sticks, basket of markers, etc. This makes seeing what you have and what you need a whole lot easier!"
Tina from Mrs. Peyerk's Porcupine Pals
"Make extra packets for beginning of school for extra students joining you later in the year. I also have bin ready for everyone to sort their goodies into so I don't have to spend precious time doing that on the first day."
"Take the time to fall in love with your students."
"Read a favorite picture book- no matter what grade you teach- let your love of teaching and personality shine!"
"The first day is hectic for us and intimidating for students-not knowing anyone, a new room, etc. Once everyone is in the room and morning building announcements are made. I turn on the music and have a dance party to celebrate a new year. It helps those that are nervous to lighten up and it allows my students to interact with each other first thing!"
"Let the children design the classroom. Let their art and work be your decorations."
"Model-Model-Model!!!! Everything and anything! Like others- I've had name tags to color on their desks first thing. A little after the bell has rung, I always teach a call and response first. "Class"-"Yes" is the first. Throughout the year, I'll add others. But, that first day, I get this taught nice and quick before we start the get to know you, expectation, tour, how are we getting home, etc."
"I have the students help me come up with rules and we make little booklets. I already have the rules in mind but want them to feel that they are a part of the process."
"Assign everyone a number that gets used for everything from lining up ( no more cutting in line) to passing in papers."
"I prepare birthday gifts before the year starts! On the students' birthdays, I am always ready!"
"After the decorations are done, and school has begun, take time to make a personal phone call to each parent with something positive about his/her child during the first couple weeks of school. This makes for a much more pleasant meeting if problems arise during the year."
"Greet each student at the door with their choice of a handshake, high five, or fist bump."
"Get organized before the kiddos cross the threshold and try to stay organized. Setting aside ten minutes before and 10 minutes after school to focus on organization will help you in the long run and keep you from getting overwhelmed."
"I try to remember that even though it would be great to have everything ready by the first day, it is okay if I don't get it all done! As long as I'm actively working hard to finish it, it's okay if the classroom is not 100% decorated, all my paperwork isn't 100% set, etc...but moving forward! It's not worth losing sleep or stressing over! Teachers are humans too!"
"The first day will have ups and downs! Keep smiling! The students won't have a clue what was supposed to be next! Your classroom doesn't have to be perfect! No one else knows what grand plans you had! Smile! The first day is about providing a safe, welcoming environment! And practice rituals and routines as much as possible the first week! It will pay off later in the year!"
Aren't these great?! Believe it or not, this is only just a handful of all the tips on my Facebook page. A big thank you to all who contributed! Feel free to share your back to school tip with us in the comment section here!