Start the school year well using these cool back to school teacher hacks.
These back to school teacher hacks save time, reduce frustration, and keep teachers on top of their teaching game.
Furthermore, they ease a few of the challenges that await new teachers.
By implementing these back to school teacher hacks, teachers set a solid foundation for the school year.
Back to School Teacher Hacks
Follow these simple back to school teacher hacks, and you’re sure to start the year off well.
1. Simplify Bulletin Boards.
When it comes to class décor, Keep It Super Simple.
Place butcher paper on bulletin boards, and then add a simple border. Even better, wait until students arrive and have them help.
Take 3” x 5” index cards, distribute a couple to each student, and have each draw or write something related to the theme of the bulletin board.
Now use those index cards to create a border.
Throughout the year, post students’ work on the bulletin boards.
Doing so saves so much time and mental energy because you won’t have to regularly plan detailed bulletin board ideas.
2. Teach Rules But Do Start Teaching.
It’ often said to teach rules and procedures repeatedly during the first week of school.
This is great advice.
But it is OK to actually begin teaching the first week, too.
Yes, stress rules and procedures plus review them constantly. But that doesn’t mean doing so all day during the first few weeks of school.
Take 30 minutes to an hour each day during the first week of school to focus on procedures and rules.
Or sprinkle classroom management mini-lessons throughout the day over a period of several days.
It’s also important to authentically mix teaching and classroom management procedures as much as possible.
- Practice lining up on the way to and from Specials’/electives classes.
- Review expectations for an assembly right before one.
- Model appropriate lunch behavior during that time period.
- Rehearse a variety of attention getters while transitioning from one activity to the next.
There are no hard and fast rules about how many days should be focused on explicitly introducing and/or reinforcing classroom rules with students.
Use as much time as needed unless administration states otherwise.
Of all the back to school teacher hacks, this one can’t be stressed enough.
3. Prepare Low-Maintenance, First-Day-of-School Morning Work.
Make a simple, grade-appropriate back-to-school morning work packet. Before students arrive on the first day, place the packet (along with a pencil) on students’ desks.
Make the morning packet easy enough so that learners can work independently with minimal teacher assistance.
This allows you time to freely greet arriving new students and parents without too many distractions.
Another advantage is that students don’t waste time digging into their backpacks searching for paper and a pencil. You’ve provided them with everything they need for that first day.
Write a simple message on the board instructing them to put their backpacks away and begin working on the packet.
4. Schedule the Organization of School Supplies.
Schedule the collection and organization of school supplies as a whole class activity for the first day of school.
Create a checklist to keep track of who brought what, in addition to which items each student still needs to bring. Ask students to label items with their names if not already done.
If you have a significant number of students who didn’t bring in materials, brainstorm solutions for using school supplies as community property.
5. Write Emergency Lesson Plans.
At some point, an emergency may happen. So prepare for that time now.
Preferably by the end of the first week of back to school time, write two to a week’s worth of emergency lesson plans…the more the better.
Consider keeping emergency sub plans even if the school doesn’t require them. The payoff is well worth it.
6. Record School Events in Your School Planner for the Entire Year.
This is one of the back to school teacher hacks that makes long-term planning efficient.
First, go online to the school’s current annual calendar of events. Then pencil into a lesson plan book every significant school event for the year.
Doing so ensures that during weekly planning sessions, classroom activities don’t conflict with school-wide or district-wide events.
Download a simple teacher planner (via Google Documents) that serves this purpose well.
7. Maintain a Professional Development Record Sheet.
If the school requires a certain number of professional development (PD) hours within a defined period of time, record those hours as they are acquired.
Prevent scrambling at the last minute, trying to remember every PD session you attended.
Right after attending a professional development workshop, record the name of the workshop and the number of hours granted.
As the beginning of the school year starts, teachers have so many things to think about.
Why not make some of the process easier?
These great back to school teacher hacks do just that…simplify some of the stresses that come with the start of the school year.
So implement these back to school teacher hacks at the start of the school year and watch the teaching life become a bit more pleasant.
If you liked these back to school hacks for teachers, you might be interested in…back to school scavenger hunt.