First Day of School Checklist for Teachers: Game-Changing List

This first day of school checklist, created especially with elementary teachers in mind, will help you prepare well for the new school year. 

With this list, you’ll have more than enough information to cover your bases for at least the first few days.

First Day of School Checklist for Teachers

1. Establish Your Routines and Procedures.

  • Write your name clearly on the board. 
  • Greet kids at the door or morning waiting area.
  • Introduce the classroom library along with the process for borrowing books from it.
  • Take attendance.
  • Perform lunch count. 
  • Ask each student how he/she goes home at the end of the day, and make note. 
  • Place the schedule for the day in a visible-to-all location.
  • Practice fire drill and emergency procedures.
  • Discuss homework expectations.
  • Eat lunch with the students. (A great way to begin building student/teacher rapport) 
  • Arrive a bit early to pick them up from schedules’ classes.
  • Before the kids arrive in the morning, place a morning work packet along with a pencil on each desk. 
  • Observe your class during recess. Take mental note of anything significant that stands out as it relates to peer interactions.

You may also be interested in… See my back-to-school page to find even more great ideas and resources. 

2. Organize the Classroom Strategically.

  • Schedule time for learners to create name desk plates. 
  • Take mental note of how they interact with each other based on the present seating arrangement. Later in the week, you may need to make adjustments.
  • Place needed photocopies in a designated spot so that you can easily reach for them during the day.
  • Keep a stash of sharpened pencils and paper handy for those who don’t have all of their supplies on the first day. 

3. Decide How You’ll Build Rapport With Parents/Staff.

  • Send a friendly note or email to parents introducing yourself along with a brief overview of what guardians can expect this school year.
  • Begin cultivating work camaraderie by placing a small and simple gift (e.g. brief kind note with a small treat) in grade-level colleagues’ mailboxes. This is best done right at the start of the school year. Kindness tends to be contagious.
  • Email parents a Google Document requesting volunteers for special activities held throughout the school year. Make the process simple by already having the events listed. Guardians sign their respective name next to the event in which they’re interested. 
  • Remind students/parents (via note and/or email) to complete and return all required school forms by specified due date. 
  • Remember to take care of yourself. Grab a quick, light snack from your desk drawer and stay hydrated.

4. Plan Your Daily Activities.

  • Begin calendar math. 
  • Keep a copy of your lesson plan nearby so that you can refer to it during the day as needed. 
  • Distribute textbooks.
  • Note students’ birthdays. 
  • If your schedule permits, sprinkle in a mini-lesson focused on a particular study skill. Elementary kids need life-long habits such as these in order to be successful in school. 
  • Model to learners data tracking assessment tools and the portfolio creation process if you’ll be utilizing these strategies.

5. Decide What to Tackle After School.

After you’ve taken care of your little ones throughout the day, it’s now time to dig in and begin preparing for the next day or week. 

That’s why this first day of school checklist for teachers includes a sufficient number of actions for after-school hours.

Consider devoting time to these important tasks a few minutes each day…

  • Reflect upon your day, thinking of any significant changes you need to make asap regarding seating arrangements and/or classroom organization.
  • Review which classroom systems you have started to implement and which you need to establish soon. These management processes keep your teaching life running like a well-oiled machine. 
  • Jot down questions that popped up during the day that require further research on your part. 
  • Check in with grade-level colleagues to discuss how their day went. Take mental note of ideas you could implement in your classroom.
  • Be sure you have each of your students’ family contact information. 
  • Verify which of your learners receive special education services.
  • Check if any of your students require ESL/bilingual services.
  • Maintain a list of student food allergies and medical conditions as this information is necessary to know when organizing classroom parties and field trips. 
  • Log into your email to check for any important notes.
  • Start recording anecdotal notes regarding student academics and behavior. 
  • Relax at home, and do your best to take your mind off of work.

What Would You Add to This First Day of School Checklist for Teachers?

This first day of school checklist for elementary teachers aims to reduce the headache that accompanies getting ready for back to school.