We polled the Education to the Core Community, and these are some of the best “Back to School” tips from real teachers all around the world! Whether you are a new teacher, or you are looking to brush up on your back to school procedures, there are takeaways for everybody! Be sure to comment if you have anything you would like to add to our growing list! When you are finished, be sure to check out Clever Classroom and Simply Kinder to see what the teachers in their communities had to say!
1. “Get organized! Your year will run so much smoother and you will feel better prepared!” -Brittany
2. “Teach & model respect to your students by giving it and expecting it to be returned. This will be a gift ALL school year.” -Stephanie M.
3. “Practice rules and expectations!” -Jessica M.
4. “Read Harry Wong’s First Days.” -Stephanie L.
5. “Teach and practice routines…Harry Wong definite must read!” -Melissa W.
Find “The First Days of School” on Amazon!
6. “Definitely meaningful bell work!! Gives you time to center yourself for the day AND sets the tone.” -Tova R.
Click to see my Morning Work options!
If you teach Kinder or first grade, you are in luck! I have aligned my morning work in a meaningful way, and my students looked forward to doing it each day! It also spirals, so many of them could do the activities independently!
7. “Research positive discipline approaches. Students can be encouraged to be their best when they are corrected with love and patience. As teachers we have the opportunity to really model healthy interactions by the way we respond to their actions.” -Christina A. from Sea Bear’s Kindergarten
8. “I would say have a freezer full of premade frozen casseroles so you don’t have to worry about dinner for the month! My work friends and I got together two weeks before school resumed and made tons of dinners. It was so nice to come home and not have to think about dinner.” -Jessica L.
9. “BREATHE! It seems so simple, but so many of us are stressed to the max and just need to remember to take a moment for ourselves.” -Courtney S.
10. “Just get your kids the basics before school starts, and lots of them. Pencils, erasers, pens, paper. Your kids’ teachers will let you know about the extras they’ll need. Use those back to school sales to stock up on the things you KNOW they will need. Those four things are a must. Older kids – maybe graph paper (lots of it), scientific calculator, rulers, flash drive, markers, colored pencils, 3″ by 5″ cards. These things won’t go to waste for sure.” -Tina L.
11. “Let go of LAST YEAR….good or bad, it’s over, You have different students and a different dynamic. A new school year is a new beginning…. Learn it. Laugh about it. Love it!” -Sandy C.
12. “Give the students a chance to find connections with other students. When we would have a morning meeting or share time they could put a finger on their nose when they had a connection to another student – same video game, same vacation spot, same local pool. At the same time, give students a chance to tell something unique to them – a family tradition, a favorite thing to draw, a special pet. This way they get to connect with others and stand out as themselves.” –Emily M.
13. “Start good homework habits early.” -Andrea B.
14. “Establish rules and routines from the beginning. Everything goes much smoother throughout the year.” -Lori S.
15. “Model all routines and behavior expectations. Then, do it again and again.” -Shell D.
16. “Use volunteers wisely from the get go. They can make or break you. I loved my volunteers this year, but I didn’t ask for any until the days were settled. Some kids act completely different when their parents are around (my kid included), so it is okay to be selective with those parents’ tasks (send it home with them at the end of the day kind of stuff)”. -Amy A.
17. “Trust your gut—You know what your students need. Listen to your instincts. And don’t take yourself too seriously.” -Rachel C.
18. “Simple is best!” -Stephanie S.
19. “Start the year organized. It only gets harder, so get systems for yourself and for students in place right away.” -Cassie T. from Adventures in Teaching.
20. “Week 1 should be a window of whats to come in the year. Procedures-train hard, set high behavior/attitude expectations and help students to know classroom is a “safe zone” Safe place to share/talk, safe to try/succeed/fail! Remember you are building a classroom family based on trust….gotta model, set routine, and genuinely have their best interest at heart…if you don’t, they will know, and eat you alive.” -Marisela E.
21. “Take time to learn about your kids as who they are – kids. Test results won’t help you reach them or teach them more than knowing who they are as people will. Find out what they love, hate, and show them you are invested in them as people, not a product.” -Kirstin M. from Hip Hooray in K.
22. “Call every parent the first week of school & begin a partnership.” -Deniece R.
23. “It’s better to be over-planned than under-planned. More than likely, you won’t get through all the content that you’ve planned more because you’re spending much more time setting classroom behavior expectations and procedures. Model, model, model, and praise your students when they’ve done well.” -Karri from One Sassy Teacher
24. For me it depends on the grade level…. Getting to know you activities like a scavenger hunt….1 fact and 2 lies….premade biographical sketch for each student to complete with their picture in the center….set up foldable notebook beginning with class rules, grading system, late work policy, etc……write a letter to yourself with personal info like friends, goals, fears, drama, etc.—seal it in an envelope, write name on front, teacher stores it for student to read the last week of school. Some of these things could be shared during Open House. Establish your firm, fair, and consistent learning atmosphere and give students a couple of weeks to adjust and practice before you really enforce the consequences. -Cathy W.
25. “After working so hard at trying to make my classroom look bright and colorful with lots of Pinterest ideas, I realized that next year I am going to start off with less. Making it way more similar to allow for growth. So I would say keep things simple and start off organizing. Make a list of your ideas in a journal.” -Shannon Z.
26. Tag each child’s backpack strap for how they are going home. That way, you know exactly who goes where during that first week of school. -Emily from Education to the Core
For more back to school advice, follow the links or graphics below!
Hopefully you were able to take away tips and tricks to start the school year strong! I look forward to learning together this year! If you would like to stay posted with the latest ideas and freebies this school year, be sure to follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Teachers Pay Teachers! If you would like to share this post with your friends, be sure to pin it for later!