It’s almost time for back-to-school for teachers! Whether you’re a first-year teacher, a veteran starting the year at a new school, or refreshing your knowledge about a school you’ve taught at for years, there are certain things we must do in preparing for back-to-school season. Here is a list of the basic back-to-school for teachers info you should know, become comfortable with, and have at your fingertips before the students walk through the door.
1. Location, location, location
It’s important to familiarize yourself with your school BEFORE the students step foot in the door. There’s nothing worse than scrambling when a student needs to run to the nurse and you have no idea how to tell them how to get there (been there)! Or trying to find the teachers’ bathroom when you waited too long to go and have 3 minutes in between classes. Oh, wait? Did I ever get that teacher’s bathroom key? You see where I’m going here. Just as new students need to tour and get acclimated to the layout of their school, so do teachers. Take the time before the school year begins to get to know the building you work in. Doing this ahead of time will save you time and a whole lot of stress when a large group of young humans is in front of you.
2. Contact Info
This one goes hand in hand with location. It’s important to have a list of who to call for what. In addition to the main office, security, counselors, custodians, and colleagues are all important to have listed near your classroom phone. While schools typically provide these documents to teachers, they don’t always provide them before the students arrive. PRINT the most important numbers and tape them up near the phone in your classroom.
3. School Protocols and Procedures
How do you reserve computer carts? What’s the school’s policy on student use of cell phones? Can you make your own copies? If you can’t, who makes them for you? How far in advance do you have to submit them? What are the protocols for drills and emergencies? How do you call out sick or request a personal day? Are you responsible for getting a sub, or does someone else take care of that for you? School protocols and procedures vary from school to school AND year to year. Even if the procedures are listed in a staff handbook, do not be afraid to ASK QUESTIONS, so that you understand.
4. Teacher Self-Care
As teachers, we often forget to take care of ourselves. It’s important to do so both outside AND inside the school building. Before caring for your students, get to know these important teacher self-care locations in your building. Teachers lounge, teachers restroom (don’t forget the keys!), union rep office/classroom, teacher’s cafeteria, and/or protocol for teachers purchasing food from student cafeterias, neighborhood restaurants (especially coffee shops). You will QUICKLY burn out if you don’t eat, PEE, and rest between classes.
Please learn from my mistakes. Get to know all the things about your school before your students are in front of you. It’s one of the best ways to feel prepared in a profession where we are constantly assessing and making modifications to serve the needs of our students. Familiar with your school? Finished with classroom setup? Start the year off strong with these back-to-school-lesson plans.