11 Brilliant Back-to-School Teacher Hacks You’ll Love

Start the school year well using these cool back-to-school teacher hacks.

One of the secrets to being successful as a teacher is to work smarter.

You can do so by learning a handful of tips and tricks that will make a huge impact in your teaching life.

That’s the purpose of sharing these back-to-school teacher hacks which will save time, reduce frustration, and keep you on top of your teaching game.

Most of these hacks deal with classroom organization so that you set a solid foundation for the school year.

Back-to-School Teacher Hacks

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.

Here’s how…

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 boards.

2. Create a Teacher Toolbox.

Use a plastic storage container with multiple compartments to organize and store essential supplies like pens, markers, sticky notes, paper clips, etc.

You’ll save time searching for materials when you most need them because everything will be easily accessible on your desk.

3. Teach Rules But Do Start Teaching.

It’s often said to teach routines and procedures during the first week of school.

This is great advice.

But it is OK to actually begin teaching the first week, too.

Yes, practice routines and procedures plus review them constantly. But that doesn’t mean doing so all day long 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 by authentically mixing teaching and classroom management procedures.

Of all the back-to-school teacher hacks, this one can’t be stressed enough.

4. Color-Code Folders and Bins.

Use color-coded folders or bins to categorize different subjects or activities. For example, use blue for math, red for language arts, and green for science.

5. 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 their desks.

Make the morning packet easy enough so that students 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 in 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.

6. Make Bulletin Boards Interactive.

Another way to reduce the amount of time you spend doing bulletin boards is to turn them into interactive displays that involve students.

Create puzzles, vocabulary games, or math problems that students can solve by pinning the correct answers or moving pieces.

7. 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.

8. Hang a Morning Message Board.

Morning time is the perfect time to set the mood for the rest of the day.

Set up a morning message board with daily prompts or questions. It encourages students to participate and share their thoughts each day.

9. 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 a few days or weeks’ 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.

10. 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 your school’s current annual calendar of events. Then pencil into your 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 Slides) that serves this purpose well.

11. Maintain a Professional Development Record Sheet.

If your school requires a certain number of professional development (PD) hours within a defined period of time, record those hours as they are acquired on a continuing education record sheet.

This prevents you from 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.

Final Thoughts On Back-to-School Teacher Hacks

As a teacher, you have so many things to think about at the beginning of the school year so make things easier by using these brilliant back-to-school teacher hacks.

They help to simplify some of the stresses that come with the start of the school year and will change how you manage your classroom and teaching life.