The start of a new school year is always an exciting time. You get to see all of your students again, and you start fresh with a new group of kids. But, before the school year can begin, there are some things that need to be done to set yourself up for success.
Here are my top 7 professional teacher tips, to start your school year off!
1 - Organise your classroom
As a professional teacher, we all want our classrooms to look nice, smell good, and encourage a productive learning atmosphere. So, before school kicks back off again, why not spruce it up and make sure it’s as organised as possible?
Sure, cleanliness is next to godliness and all, but having things in their own special homes and labelled correctly can go a long way to settling your class. When you don’t know exactly where something is supposed to go you can get on with the teaching.
Plus, the sooner you establish procedures for keeping the classroom neat and tidy—the key is consistency!—the less likely your students will be scatterbrained over their materials and belongings.
If you’re looking for a guide book to help organise your classroom, look no further than my recent book ‘Teacher in Control’. It costs less than a dollar on my Amazon account. In it I show actionable steps to establish and maintain an organised classroom. I also make it clear how classroom organisation is more than tidy cupboards. That’s just the foundation and if it has a few rusty screws, everything will come crashing down.
So take some time out of your summer break to do a bit of organising — trust me, your professional teacher self will thank you come the new school year.
2 - Create a relief teacher folder to be at the ready
If you’re a professional teacher, let me tell you – having a relief teacher folder ready to go at all times makes life just that much easier.
It’s somewhat like having an ace up your sleeve – if the situation calls for it, pull it out and take care of your planned or unplanned absences.
When taking the occasional day or two off, having a relief teacher folder ready to go, is a must! Want to cut the work, download my free pink relief teacher binder.
You’ll get through your lesson planning on a sick day in no time, and with just a few steps. What’s even better is that you’ll know immediately where everything is when you need it instantly.
I know, creating it is time-consuming, but if it saves you from scrambling around to gather materials at the last minute, isn’t that worth the effort?
3 - A professional teacher plans with the end in mind
Frequently, it feels like our minds are spinning in ten different directions! But there is one major tip that can make report season a breeze – begin with the end in mind!
We know that being well-organised and prepared is the key to making sure our students have the best learning experience of their lives. However, preparation for student reports can often slip past new or even experienced teachers who don’t plan accordingly at the start of the year.
If you want to be a professional teacher, creating a realistic plan at the beginning of each school year and taking into consideration the professional requirements necessary to prepare for student reports is the key to success. So cash in on this key now and you won’t regret it later!
Consider what your students need to accomplish, and plan every lesson and assessment with that goal in mind. So start by setting up your marksbook with what you need to assess. Then think of all the tasks you need make sure they’re fun to get to that goal in the time frame you have.
The beauty of this practice is that reports become something to look forward to, instead of being a source of stress!
4 - Establish a classroom culture
Let’s face it, a professional teacher knows that to have a successful and productive classroom, you need to set boundaries. Making rules is an absolute must for maintaining an environment where successful learning can take place.
It’s also important to not just focus on the rules, but also to get to know your students as individuals – their names, interests, and so on.
Doing this helps build relationships between us. That’s where my free classroom rules cards come in.
They not only list common classroom rules but can also provide space for you to write your students’ names and other individual information if you wish.
When you know who each individual is, tailoring their experience in the classroom becomes that much easier.
5 - Plan fun activities for the first week of school
The first week of school is an exciting time for both teachers and students alike. It’s a great opportunity to introduce yourself and your classroom, set expectations, and get to know each other.
One way to make the most of this time is by planning a variety of easy and challenging tasks that will engage all learners. These activities should be a mix of easy and challenging tasks that are tailored to match different learning styles.
For example, you could have students work together in small groups on an art project or problem-solving activity while others can practice reading aloud with you one-on-one.
By providing a variety of engaging activities during the first week of school, a professional teacher makes sure students feel comfortable as they transition into the new academic year.
6 - Display a visual daily schedule
We must ensure our classrooms maintain learning momentum throughout the day. So, look no further for a helpful tool to help your students stay focused and organised – with my free magnetic schedule labels.
I use magnetic tape on the back of each label so I can move them easily around my whiteboard. They’re great for keeping me in order.
Visualising your daily classroom routine on the whiteboard can keep your kiddos in line, so they know exactly what they should be doing without feeling overwhelmed.
Having each task clearly displayed with vibrant, colourful letters means no more disruptions and total student engagement.
Creating a visual daily schedule for your students is not only a great way to get organised, but it also gives your students structure and an expectation of what they can expect each day.
7 - Develop relationships with parents
To create positive relationships with your student’s parents from the get-go, you could use my free ‘Meet the Teacher Template’ in my email. Just edit it and add it to your teacher’s website or Class Dojo or Google Classroom and get it to your students’ parents’ eyes.
With this personalised message that lets them know how much fun we’re going to have throughout our learning journey together – plus information about how they can contact me anytime during this new year! Parent interviews just got even better.
It’s amazing how much easier your job gets when you can count on the support of parents from the beginning. Having parents in your corner from Day one is like having an extra assistant – without having to actually hire one.
That being said, developing relationships with families isn’t always smooth sailing – but it is worth the effort.
Creating positive connections with parents provides teachers with much-needed insight into how to work more effectively with their students.
Well, it looks like my 7 top tips for getting the classroom ready for a successful year are all checked off. Organise the classroom, establishing a culture, master parent relationships, use a visual schedule, create a relief teacher folder, plan with the end in mind and planning fun activities for the first week back.
These methods should make your job as a professional teacher a lot easier.
Here’s hoping that this upcoming academic year is one full of growth and professional success for us all. Who knows? After putting these tips into practice at school or at home, we may find ourselves saying, “Teaching has never been so EZ.”
Would you add anything to this list? I’d love to know. Please let me know in the comments below.