Summer break is that glorious time of year when I do as little or as much as I want like sleeping in, enjoying a second cup of coffee, or working on a fun project. I also take time to think about my plan for the upcoming school year because it helps me feel less overwhelmed and stressed when I do return to work.
There is nothing wrong with putting together ideas for your classroom during the summer. One of the benefits is that you actually have time to think about your goals in a relaxed setting. I'm sharing some tips for planning a successful year, and with a little preparation, you'll walk into your classroom feeling organized and confident.
USE A BACK-TO-SCHOOL CHECKLIST
Where do you even begin when considering plans for a new school year? It can feel a bit overwhelming even for the most experienced teachers.
That’s why I love a good checklist! It keeps me focused and works as a great resource when I need to remember the process. Here’s the complete BTS checklist you can download now.
PUT TOGETHER AN PERSONAL CARE KIT
Self-care is especially important during the first few weeks. You’ll thank yourself for putting together a care kit you’ll leave in your classroom. Here are a few suggestions I put together for myself. I’d love to hear what you include in yours.
Comfy Shoes - This can’t be stressed enough. You'll be on your feet a lot, so a change of shoes during your conference or even a short break can make all the difference in your energy level. Of course you’ll want to wear those cute shoes your bought, but trust me when I say your feet will need rescuing at some point.
Face Spritzer - I’ll admit I wasn’t sold on facial mists when I was first introduced to them. But after giving it a try on a recent trip, I’m sold. It’s amazing how much a refreshing face spray can bring you back to life after a long, tiring day. There are a lot of great choices out there. One of my favorites is the aloe, cucumber, green tea version by Mario Badescu.
Snacks and Water - Chances are you’re going to miss lunch. I keep a small container of high protein bars, mixed nuts or trail mix, instant noodles and oatmeal packs, as well as flavored protein water add-ins. Staying hydrated and fed makes a huge difference in my energy levels and mood.
Medicine Bag - You may laugh at this, but I won’t be caught off guard having to run to the nurse for pain relievers, anti-diarrheal, or any other personal care items I might need. You can't just leave your class of students without supervision, and sometimes it isn't easy to find coverage. All of these have saved my life at some point during my career.
Change of Clothing - You’ll want to throw in a change of clothing from top to bottom so you’re prepared when the unexpected becomes a reality. Never say never, and depending on the grade level you teach, there are all sorts of possibilities waiting to happen. And they happen.
Sweater and Blanket - Room temperatures will vary and become unstable at least once during the school year. Be prepared. The throw is perfect for wrapping up and taking a quick power nap. Lock your door, turn out the lights, and set an alarm on your phone!
Other Necessities - Some extras might include a set of contacts, breath mints, a small flashlight for power outages, a phone charger, and hair accessories. Just think of what items you’d want or need if you had to stay for an extended period of time at school.
PLAN YOUR CLASSROOM SYSTEMS
I'll let you in on a secret that took me years into my teaching career to learn. When you implement well-defined classroom systems and routines, your students learn how to self-regulate, monitor behavior and learning, and respect classroom expectations. I just wish I had known that when I first started out.
I definitely didn't get any training on establishing classroom systems in my teacher courses. And quite honestly, I spent much of my beginning years trying to make the whole classroom management thing work. That’s why I created a short, self-paced video workshop that helps you get your procedures and systems in place. Check out the Classroom Systems Course.
When students know exactly what behaviors are expected and what their individual role is in your classroom and the learning environment, there is less chance for disorganization, confusion, distraction or misbehavior. Don’t start the year without well-planned systems. It's a matter of putting into place key procedures that will make your classes run seamlessly.
JOIN A FACEBOOK SUPPORT GROUP
There is nothing like having a good support group during your first few years of teaching. You might be a brand new teacher who’s never taught before, a teacher who is changing grade level, or a teacher who is looking for fresh perspective. I’d love you to join me and other teachers over at Prepping for Success for New Teachers. You’ll get support, help, practical tips, strategies, and actionable steps so you can navigate your teaching journey successfully.
Be sure to check out the other ways you can connect with me. I share ideas, activities, and FREE resources, so be sure to check out the weekly activities and ideas email in The Cheat Sheet.
How do you prepare for a new school year? Comment with your best ideas.
Share this post with your friends who need an extra bit of motivation this summer.