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35 Back to School Tips From Teachers in the Know

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Photo of Holly (Teach Starter)
Updated | 5 min read

Sharing hints and tips with our fellow teaching colleagues can be both inspirational and helpful.

Our friends over at the Relief Teaching Ideas Facebook Group, recently conducted a competition to win 1 of 5 Teach Starter Ultimate Memberships. They asked their inspiring group of teachers:

What is your favourite back to school tip?

The hints and tips were too good not to share! Here are just some of the amazing tips given by teachers for teachers (in no particular order).

Back to School Tips for Teachers

I learnt not to go into the first few weeks full steam ahead so much, but to take some time getting to know the students. Without taking that time, you can’t learn how they learn, what they enjoy and like etc. The learning can come later but taking the time to know each individual child and their learning behaviour is invaluable. – A.L.

With the upper years, I spend the first 2 days doing group based STEM activities. At first, they work with their friends and then slowly they start to work with other students in the class. This promotes students being comfortable working with anyone in the class and building a team spirit. – A.G.

Have good routines in place. [Think about] how you want lining up to look, moving around the room, organisation of resources etc, so you can teach these routines from day one. Establishing these early gives students a sense of security in knowing what to do and how to do it and reduces stress for you as these little things take care of themselves leaving you to concentrate on bigger things. – N.T.

Be prepared and organised with your planning. Remember the students are just as nervous and anxious as you are. Have a positive mindset and know we are all learners. – C.E.

I focus on building positive relationships with my students and teaching them strategies such as persistence, resilience, teamwork and kindness. – A.K.

Get a good massage a couple days before you go back to ensure your body is ready for the change of pace. – C.W.

Exude confidence, even if you feel less than confident at times. Love your students even on the challenging days. Be kind to yourself. Each day is a new day. – K.S.

[I] aim to learn all of my students’ names by the end of the first day. – D.W.

Take care of your own health, especially your voice. Remember to rest of an afternoon. – T.K.

Learning my students names and likes by the end of the first week and finding positive things to mention every day. – A.D.

Promote students’ sense of belonging with their names on birthday charts etc, giving them a space to call their own and getting them to do some art or mindfulness colouring in the first week to display in the room. – A.L.

Pre-make lunches and freeze. It’s the last thing you need to think about with everything else going on. – L.S.

Start with a clean slate… every child deserves it. – B.F.

Remember to be flexible and have lots of small engaging activities to use spontaneously. – K.E.

If your day doesn’t go to plan, do as Elsa says, ‘Let it go’. – A.G.

Have the day planned but be ok with the reality that you will only get through 20% of it. – D.M.

Create your classroom rules TOGETHER. – C.B.

Create a large list with the class names visible from near the door, have two blank columns to add parent / carer names so you can always greet them by name during the rest of the year. – L.N.

Try to avoid having a pre-set opinion of your students based on what their previous teachers have said. Get to know your students for yourself! Treat every child as a fresh, new slate who’s ready to enjoy learning! – S.F.

[Use a] thermos cup (with a top) for your tea or coffee. You never seem to finish it during recess or lunch so then you can take it back to the classroom to finish. – M.K.

My mantra for school is to ‘go with the flow’. Flexibility is key. Things will always not be exactly as planned or planned at all. – T.M.

Don’t be too proud to use someone else’s ideas… Put your own spin on it to make it your own but save your energy for more by utilising resources shared… It’s way too common to spread yourself too thin where you burn out! There are some fabulously talented peers! – K.C.

A positive mentor/friend can help you work through the tough times. – E.G.

As a newbie I looked at how others set up their room. I took heaps of photos from this page and used the Teach Starter site for inspiration and I will be asking more experienced teachers if I need help in the future as they have probably tried and tested everything. – L.H.

When organising introduction notes to parents, book covers etc., prepare a few spares and store in a plastic sleeve for any new students that you may get throughout the year. – T.P.

Ensure you have plenty of water, a healthy lunch and hand sanitiser. – R.K.

The 3 Rs…. relationships, routines and reward yourself. – C.M.

A new year, be open-minded and get to know your kids yourself not what you have heard about them. – E.S.

Prepare to make mistakes. The best lessons and skills are learnt through trial and error. – R.H.

Have a teacher diary printed and ready to go with a 1-2 week mini unit that covers the basics while numbers settle and classes are formed! – L.M.

Make the room look welcoming but remember the room is to be decorated by the students’ work so don’t over do it. – D.H.

Have a pocket full of quick, hands on and engaging activities for those times when kids need a peep up or back to focus break. Be flexible and open to student direction, don’t always get too bogged down in the curriculum that you forget to have fun and enjoy each other’s company as a class. – S.G.

Remember it doesn’t matter if you don’t have the prettiest/coolest room decorations, it’s about getting to know your students, building positive relationships and instilling a lifelong love of learning and respect. – A.J.

Take five mins before the kids arrive to just relax and think about how you want the day to look, break it down activity by activity. You’ll be surprised what you might remember you haven’t organised yet. – S.P.

What’s your number one tip for the chaos that is back to school?



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