Back to school is one of my most favorite times of the year. The sleepless night on the eve of the first day, the excitement of meeting a new group of students, and the action-packed whirlwind of the first day of school are all thrilling to me as an educator. Here are my top 10 back-to-school teacher tips to ensure success in your classroom throughout the school year.
- Meet and greet your students as they enter your classroom. Introduce yourself and make it a point to create small talk with your students over the first few weeks. This establishes trust and students often go the extra mile for teachers they trust.
- Establish and review classroom routines. Take some time to reflect on the previous school year and any changes that may need to take place within your classroom. Reflect on what worked and what didn’t, as well as why it did or did not work. You do not have to revamp it all, just polish it every year. Then model your expectations, starting on the first day. Students crave structure whether they will admit it or not!
- Focus on ways to create a safe environment for your students. This can be done through morning meetings where teachers and students greet each other and take time to share their thoughts as well as review a run-down of the day’s events. Create activities that promote students to take risks, and have a safe place for them to fall. After all, we often learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes.
- Bulletin boards. Love them or hate them, we all have to put them up at some point during the school year. Tablecloths, either plastic or fabric, are easy to use as a background and prevent fighting with bulletin board paper rolls as you try to make a clean tear. You can also find inexpensive fabric in clearance bins or use a flat sheet. Another alternative is to use wrapping paper. This way, you can change the background to match different seasonal themes and holidays throughout the year.
- Use colleagues as a sounding board to get advice. Professional support is an important part of the learning process that will ensure success. And remember to use your planning time to complete your to-do list … or at least put a dent in it!
- Pencils, pencils, and more pencils. As a math teacher, many mistakes will be made throughout the year so it is important to invest in pencils with good erasers as well as a heavy-duty pencil sharpener.
- Take time to breathe, take time to reflect, and take time for yourself.
- Keep stickers on hand. As a reward or an extra motivator, they always come in handy!
- Try something new! Whether it is a new committee at school, a new classroom management technique, or a new digital tool, keep things fresh.
“Use your colleagues as a sounding board to get advice. Professional support is an important part of the learning process that will ensure success. And remember to use your planning time to complete your to-do list … or at least put a dent in it!”
Regardless if this is your first or twentieth year, continue to change, strive to succeed, and have a great start to your school year!
Author: Lori Carson | DreamBox Learning
Lori Carson graduated from High Point University in 1997 with a degree in Middle Grades Education.She taught in High Point, NC for three years before moving to Raleigh, NC where she taught for another 14 years. She earned her NBPTS certification in 2003 and renewed the certification in 2013.Lori is currently working as a Professional Development Consultant and writer for DreamBox Learning.