12 Simple Teacher Organisation Hacks to Prepare for a New Year

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12 Simple Jobs Teachers Can Do to Prepare for a New Year
Cassie (Teach Starter)

Written by Cassie (Teach Starter)

It’s holidays! It’s the start of the New Year, and if you’re anything like all of the teachers I know, your mind will already have started drifting back to the huge list of things you “need” to do during the school break! We all know that when it comes to preparing your classroom for a new school year that the To Do list is long. Which is why this post will give you a succinct list of things you can do during your school holidays to help prepare for back to school.

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The key criteria for this list include tasks that are:

  • simple
  • useful
  • and do not require you to look at any curriculum documents!

12 Simple Things to Do During Holidays to Prepare for the New School Year

This isn’t a checklist. Not by a long shot! Instead, it can be taken as a suggestion of jobs that might help you feel less at sea when your new class begins after the school holidays.

FOR SCHOOL

(1) Prepare Students’ Desk Plates, Name Tags and Labels

Desk Plates for your students

Once you have your class list you can begin to prepare desk plates, name tags and any of the other labels you will need for your new class.

Teach Starter Top Tip:
Use your Teach Starter Gallery to create a “Word List” of your new students’ names. Then you’ll be able to use this list throughout the year when creating customised resources in the Teach Starter Studio.

For more ideas and information about customisable classroom labels, check out our post “Customisable Classroom Decor Templates”.

(2) Prepare Your Classroom Calendar

There are lots of benefits to having a classroom calendar visible for your students. We have a variety of classroom calendar resources that can help you set up something that can be used a teaching tool in the new year.

Here is a selection!

Find out how you can use your classroom calendar as a teaching tool in the post “15 Activities Using a Classroom Calendar”.

(3) Make a Birthday Chart

Classroom Birthday Calendar

When your new class walk in and see their birthday already featured proudly on the wall they will love it! This is a fun little job to get done over the school holidays.

Check out even more of our birthday resources for fun ways to begin this part of your classroom decoration.

(4) Prepare Welcome Packs

Welcome Packs for your students

You may like to prepare a little welcome pack for each of the students in your new class. This is a lovely thing to do if you are teaching Foundation level, beginning at a new school, or teaching at a large school where some of your new students may not know you that well.

Some ideas for things you could include in each student’s welcome pack:

(5) Prepare Packs for New Students

Prepare a new student pack

It’s likely that during the school year you may get a few new students that were not on your class list at the end of the year before. A great way to be prepared at short notice for these arrivals is to prepare a few ‘New Student Packs’. This might include one of the welcome packs you’ve created for the rest of your class, as well as an extra pack for yourself with one of each of the things you are preparing for all of your students.

For example, each of your ‘New Student Packs’ may include:

(6) Set Up Your Filing System

This leads us to the next suggestion – setting up your filing system!

PAPERS

Regardless of how hard you work to reduce the amount of paper generated during the year, there will always be student work samples, tests and other papers to file. Spend some time preparing a filing system that is set up with your new students’ names. The way in which you organise your files will depend on what works best for you.

Teach Starter Top Tip:
Keep in mind that when new students arrive you will need to ‘slot’ their file in amongst the rest of your class files. Set up a filing system that makes it easy to manage a rejuggle of alphabetical order!

ELECTRONIC

Don’t forget all of your computer files too! Take a little bit of time to set up the folder structure you need for storing your electronic files throughout the year. Doing this during the holidays means that when school returns, and with it the frantic mania of the first few weeks, months, term, you won’t end up with a single folder or desktop full of files that never make it into their proper electronic home!

(7) Print New Resources

Print and Laminate new resources

How fun are bright and colourful games which also teach our kids lots of new concepts? Very fun! And we have heaps of them at Teach Starter. This means searching and downloading games is easy – and this makes this a perfect holiday-night-in-front-of-the-tv task.

Print and organise the general classroom resources you know you’ll use with your new class. These might include some of the following:

Put them in some cute folders for storage and safekeeping and you’re ready to go!

(8) Get Your Tech On

Get your tech on

School holidays are the perfect time to set up the tech stuff you will use with your class in the new year. If you are using a digital parent communication tool, setting up the accounts you need in advance will reduce the items on your back to school To Do List.

You may be setting up tech-based communication and learning experiences using platforms such as:

(9) Shopping!

The magnetic pull between a teacher and a department store is strong. Officeworks, Kmart, Target, you name it! You’ll definitely end up at the shops at some stage during your holidays so figuring out what you need to get organised for your new class is a must.

Teach Starter Top Tip:
Plan it out! Heading into your local stationery or home organisation store without a shopping list is like buying groceries when you’re hungry. You’ll end up spending much more than you need.

TEACHING TOOLS & HANDS-ON RESOURCES

Teacher tools

Think about this year and the kinds of tools or hands-on resources you know would have made your teaching life easier. Extra sets of dice? Playing cards? Magnifying glasses?

Check out our posts 20 Classroom Treasures Found in a Cheap Shop and Reggio Emilia Approach in the Classroom for ideas and inspiration.

CLASSROOM DECOR & STORAGE

Classroom storage and decor

Kristen Prahl/shutterstock.com

Are you already thinking about changes you might make to your current classroom set up? Here’s what you need to do!

  1. Get inspired! Think about the display and storage spaces that are available in your classroom and what you need to be able to store. Take a look through some classroom organisation ideas to help you figure out the best way to display materials and store resources in your classroom before you head to the shops.
  2. Choose a colour scheme. Think about whether you love rainbows, or would prefer to go with fairly neutral storage containers, boxes and display boards. You can always mix up the vibe of your classroom by adding a new colour scheme through posters and labels. Check out our classroom organisation and display resources before you decide on what to buy.
  3. Get creative! Sticking wrapping paper over display boards as a background is a great way to add colour to your classroom without breaking the bank. Print out your border trimmers and prepare your boards for the displays that will be added to them during the year.

FOR YOU

(10) Cook Some Freezer Meals

Teaching is a crazy job. During term time, it has got to be one of the busiest working lifestyles around. Busyness can easily lead to the demise of making time for “simple” things like eating well.

Doing some meal preparation during the school holidays is one way to reduce the amount of “I’ll just get takeaway” paper bags that might end up in your rubbish bin, and should have you eating more than a slice of grilled cheese on toast when school gets really busy!

Take a look through these great lists of meals you can prepare and freeze ready to defrost and eat, as well as tips for cooking less and eating at home more.

(11) Take Time to Reflect

Teacher Self-Reflection

While it’s easy to spend a fair chunk of the holidays doing things to prepare for the new year, it’s important to take some time to reflect on the year you’ve just finished. Time spent in peaceful reflection isn’t time wasted – in fact, when you spend time thinking about what went well this year (and what didn’t go quite so well) it will help you refine how you spend your time and efforts in preparing for the new year.

You can download our Mindful Self-Reflection for Teachers if this is something you’d like to give some time!

(12) Plan ME Time!

Plan ME time

Finally, and most importantly, in preparation for the new teaching year, take time to figure out when you are going to take time out when school returns. When the momentum of school returns it’s far too easy to put yourself last. And this? This is what leads to teacher burnout.

Be proactive and make plans for time out during the coming school year. Whether it be booking a weekend or two away, or purchasing a pass to a weekly yoga class, make concrete plans and stick to them.

Teach Starter Top Tip:
There will always be something that makes you feel like you can’t take that time for yourself during school terms. Know that even if you take that few hours a week, or weekend every now and again just to tap out of ‘teacher life’ and tap back into ‘you’, the rest will still all happen as it needs to.

For some ideas about planning ME time, check out these posts:


Remember that meme at the start of this post?

We know it’s true, which is why we want to help you figure out the best use of your time when getting organised for the new year. Hopefully, these ideas and tips (as well as all of our teaching resources!) will go a little way towards achieving that goal!

What is something you do every school holidays to prepare for the new year?

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Comments & feedback

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Sophie Yu

Thank you for the ideas!

Sophie Yu · Dec 8th, 2019

Kristian

Hi Sophie,
Thank you for your lovely comment. I am so glad you are enjoying our resources.

Kristian · Dec 9th, 2019

Tara Causer

This is great, helping me make a list of things I can do over the summer break for next year!
Love the reflective tool!

Tara Causer · Nov 20th, 2018

Kristian

Hi Tara,
Thanks for the lovely comment. We’re so glad to hear you are enjoying our resources.

Kristian · Nov 20th, 2018

Trish Beard

Trying to get motivated to start planning for the year. Finding it hard as I have got a new year level which is a bit scary. But it was great reading all of this and knowing I am not alone. Already downloaded a few ideas and feeling less stressed. Thanks

Trish Beard · Jan 8th, 2018

Cassie (Teach Starter)

Hi Trish,

It is a feeling I think most of us feel at the beginning of the school year! I’m so glad this article has gone a little way towards helping you feel more prepared. Thank you for your comment and all the best with your new year level!

Regards,
Cassie

Cassie (Teach Starter) · Jan 8th, 2018

Zuriette Du Plessis

Very helpful tips. Using this as my checklist. Thank you.

Zuriette Du Plessis · Jan 6th, 2018

Cassie (Teach Starter)

Hi Zuriette,

You are welcome! I hope it makes the beginning of the year a little easier for you.

Kind regards,
Cassie

Cassie (Teach Starter) · Jan 8th, 2018

Kym Fahey

Great article. I will come back to this in a few weeks to set the plan.

Kym Fahey · Dec 31st, 2017

Cassie (Teach Starter)

Hi Kym,

Thank you for your comment! I’m so glad you have found the post useful!

Regards,
Cassie

Cassie (Teach Starter) · Jan 2nd, 2018

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