12 Simple Jobs Teachers Can Do to Prepare for a New School Year

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Teacher Organisation over the school holidays

Written by Cassie (Teach Starter)

It’s summer! If you’re anything like all of the teachers I know, your mind has probably already started drifting back to the huge list of things you “need” to do during the summer 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 summer break 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 Summer Break 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 summer break.

FOR SCHOOL

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

Customisable deskplates for student desks

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 customized resources in the Teach Starter Studio.

For more ideas and information about customizable classroom labels, check out our post “Customizable 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 as 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 ChartBirthday Cupcakes Classroom Display Resource

When your new class walks in and sees their birthday already featured proudly on the wall – they will love it! This is a fun little job to get done over the summer break.

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

(4) Prepare Welcome Packs

Preparing a welcome pack for new 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 Kindergarten, 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 packs for students who start throughout the year

It’s likely that during the school year you may get a few new students that were not on your class list at the start of the year. 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 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

Which 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 organize 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 summer break 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 & Laminate New Resources

bingo game teaching resources stores in bags

How long into your teaching career did it take you to purchase your own laminator? About 3 seconds? There’s a reason for that! Laminating really is one of those jobs that is almost soothing in its mindlessness. Which makes this a perfect summer-night-in-front-of-the-tv task.

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

(8) Get Your Tech On

The Seesaw App for the classroom

If you’d love to find a social media-esque way to use technology in your classroom, you need to check out our post “How to Use the Seesaw App in the Classroom”.

Summer break is 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. Office Depot, Wal-Mart, Target, you name it! You’ll definitely end up at one of these stores at some stage during your summer break, so figuring out what you need to get organized for your new class is a must.

Teach Starter Top Tip:
Plan it out! Heading into your local office supply or home organization 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

Various hands on teaching resources and tools

Think about last school 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 Display Ideas

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 organization ideas to help you figure out the best way to display materials and store resources in your classroom before you head to the store.
  2. Choose a color 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 color scheme through posters and labels. Check out our classroom organization and display resources before you decide on what to buy.
  3. Get creative! Sticking wrapping paper over bulletin boards as a background is a great way to add color 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 summer break is one way to reduce the amount of “I’ll just get takeout” paper bags that might end up in your trash can, and should have you eating more than a grilled cheese sandwich 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

A free mindful colouring and self reflection for teachers

While it’s easy to spend a fair chunk of the break 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 last 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 [FREE] Mindful Self-Reflection for Teachers if this is something you’d like to give some time!

(12) Plan ME Time!

Holiday ideas for teachers

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 organized 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 summer break to prepare for the new year?

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