On a recent LONG (15 hour) car ride home, I was rocking out to Justin Bieber (don’t judge) and I got to thinking, mostly as a way of entertaining myself… “If I had to share just one little back to school tip that would make a big difference, what would it be?”
Would it be a big piece of feel good advice, or a small simple change that would make a big difference in the ease of heading back? It helped me pass quite a bit of time as I tossed ideas around in my head and finally picked the one piece of advice I’d offer. Here it is… simple and sweet…
Keep M&Ms in your desk at all times!
(if you’re like me…the peanut butter kind). There’s not always a lot of time to eat, but a hungry teacher=a cranky teacher. If M&Ms aren’t your jam, then any quick and easy snack will do. And for my coffee drinkers, keep a small Keurig machine in your room. I am much happier when I’m caffeinated.
Ok, so that’s kind of two pieces of advice… but really good and easy advice, and you’re better for knowing it…right? Don’t you feel more prepared already?
Then I got to thinking…. what would other experienced teachers say as they responded to this same question?
I am a part of some awesome teacher social media groups and it is AMAZING to hear what other teachers are doing out there! So I asked this group of Teachers (who are all teacher mamas) and here is what they shared as their one best back to school tip!
Print several sheets of labels with your student names on them. This makes labeling pencil boxes, folders, and notebooks a breeze!
When decorating use black buckets, tubs or bins. They hide dirt and can match any color or theme in a classroom. Just make cute labels and tie it on with ribbon that coordinates with your classroom. This will save you money and time in the long run, especially when you decide to change your theme out.
Put student name labels on the front of the student desk as well as the top. You can quickly learn your student’s names at the beginning of the year and it is great when you have a substitute in the room too!
Always important to greet your students in the beginning of the school year!!
(Diana does this with her Emoji Back to School Cards!)
Play name games. Ask a students name and one of their favorite things. This immediately makes the student feel special and that you value their interests. Even better if you remember the next day, eg; hello Caly, how are your pet rabbits?
My advice would be to have fun and teach from your heart! If you are enjoying your lesson, so will your kids. Don’t try to do what other people are doing if it doesn’t feel right to you, because your kids will sense that you’re not at your best and will disengage. Also include play as much as possible! Games are the best way to keep kids engaged & practicing skills!
Contact all parents at least once in the first 2-3 weeks of school for a positive reason. I like to mail something home that highlights something great the student has done. Some teachers prefer email or phone call. It really starts the year off on such a positive. I find this so so so important for my struggling students or those with behavior concerns. It makes it so much easier to make the call for a not so good reason!
On Meet-the-Teacher Night, I always make sure that parents fill out a Student Information Card for their child. Once completed, I hole-punch and put the cards on a ring to hang by my desk. They are perfect for a quick and easy reference throughout the year!
(Here is a link to her Meet the Teacher resource)
I think these teacher mamas have some awesome advice, and I hope you have a wonderful time prepping for back to school… and most importantly… don’t forget the chocolate and coffee!
Share your best back to school tip in the comments!