Although we are still about a month away, it’s time to start putting all your ducks in a row. For teachers, this process can take a while. Start the school year off right.
Here are some reminders to get you started, if you happen to be an educator.
- Start by doing a deep clean of your classroom. Yes, the custodian will sweep floors and maybe wipe down surfaces. However, it will feel good to have a super-clean classroom before all the kids come and mess it up again. (Make sure they take responsibility in the cleaning process as the year progresses too.)
- Decorate corkboard and walls. Some easy bets include covering the entire wall with colored butcher paper, and then use those decorated borders to punch it up. Anything you put on top, for educational value, will look fancier. Consider leaving one wall blank to display superior student work. Also, possibly consider, depending on size and space, having a small area for kids to post up things they bring in (like articles from the newspaper or drawings.)
- Set up posters to track homework assignments. It’s best to keep it on a dry-erase board on the wall so it can be updated and is visible to all the students. (Also set up your grade book.)
- Figure out where the art supplies will be stored and where to house the first aid kit.
- Set up hand sanitizer near the door, but don’t use it as a substitute for good old-fashioned hand washing. Hand sanitizer is good in a pinch, but you need to wash the germs all the way off the hands for them to really be clean.
- Set up a poster, in a prominent location, that outlines the rules and consequences. (Or, you could create the list together with students on the first or second day of school.)
- Start the classroom newsletter. Begin with a version that can be emailed or printed for families who do not have internet access. The first “issue” should include an introduction letter (from you to families), your expectations and plans for the year and a “get-to-know-you” form for kids and parents to fill out.
- If you have time, try to call all of the families or reach out via email. It would be nice, although not always practical, to try to say hello before school even starts. It shows you care, and gives parents and caregivers a chance to “meet” you before the stress of school begins.