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Back To School Tips For Teachers
A few years ago I used to be a high school Family & Consumer Sciences (Home Ec) teacher. I loved teaching but made the decision to leave to pursue other career options. Even though I’ve been out of the classroom for a few years I still remember what it was like to prepare for a new school year. Today, as a former teacher, I’m sharing with you my back to school tips to help you prepare for the upcoming school year. Whether it’s your first year or your twentieth year there’s always something you can do to make this year better than the last.
1. Organize Your Classroom
Do you have an organizational system in place for your classroom? During my years of teaching I used several different strategies to keep my classroom organized from the way students returned homework assignments to how they signed out laptops. There were several products that I used to stay organized such as this cascading wall organizer.
3. Read The First Days of School by Harry Wong.
I had the privilege to hear Harry Wong speak and he has so many useful tips for teachers. If you haven’t read The First Days of School you can order your copy from Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.
4. Establish Your Rules & Expectations
What expectations do you have for your students? Do you have certain rules you expect your students to follow? Establish your rules and post them in a location in your classroom where they can easily be seen by your students. Amazon has some great posters which you can display in your classroom with pre-defined rules.
5. Establish Your Discipline Policies
What happens when a student breaks the rules (because we all know they will)? Does your school have pre-set discipline policies? Will you have other policies specific to your classroom? I recommend researching classroom discipline policies for help in this area. I highly recommend Lee Canter’s Assertive Discipline for help in this area.
6. Take Advantage of Back to School Sales
We all know that school’s budgets are shrinking each year and teachers are spending more and more of their own money on classroom supplies. If you know that you will have to buy supplies for your classroom from your own pocket, take advantage of those back to school sales on items such as paper, notebooks, folders, pencils, pens, glue, etc.
7. Plan For Your Family’s Meals
The first month or so of school you will probably not feel like coming home and preparing a meal for your family. To avoid resorting to feeding your family pizza or fast food every night, make several meals which can be frozen. Then, when you don’t feel like cooking you can just pull a meal out of the freezer for your family. We have a Pinterest board devoted to easy to prepare Freezer Meals if you are looking for recipes that freeze well (because not all food freeze well….I learned this the hard way!).
8. Invest in Comfortable Shoes
When I first started teaching I had lots of “cute” and stylish shoes. I quickly learned that those cute shoes are murder for your feet! Skechers has lots of shoes that are stylish yet comfortable. Easy Spirit also makes very comfortable shoes.
9. Know The Most Important Co-Workers to Befriend
When I was in college I remember a professor telling us that you should always be especially nice to the secretary and the custodians. This is so true! Of course we should be nice to everyone….but it doesn’t hurt to make a little extra effort to befriend the secretary and custodians. These two groups of people can make your school year easy or hard! For example, when I was teaching, anytime that we had leftover food from my culinary classes I always offered it to the custodians after class. Butter them up I guess you could say! This little extra effort paid off because anytime that I needed something moved, fixed, or cleaned in my classroom the custodians were always willing to help me.
The Most Important Tip
10. Have Fun
Learning should be fun! Remember to have fun and make learning fun for your students. Don’t forget to laugh and smile. It’s easy to get so caught up in performance standards, curriculum, and school politics that we forget the real reason that we became teachers in the first place! When I was teaching I worked with so many teachers who had forgotten how to have fun. It was so easy to see that they were miserable with their job and in turn they made everyone around them miserable.