If this is your first year teaching or you are a veteran teacher, summer is a great time to prepare for the new school year. In this video, Teacher Hailey suggests 9 things to prepare or review and modify if you are a returning teacher. Below the video, I have summarized the 9 prep areas and included a few of my own thoughts. I highly recommend watching it in full, as she gives some great tips throughout the video.
Behavior Management Plan
If you’re a first-year teacher, deciding on a behavior management plan is very important. I suggest reaching out to teachers from your school to see what they have used, what worked well, and what they would do differently. Ideally, if you can reach out to a teacher from the grade below yours, that will allow you to get the best insight into how you can proceed for the same kids in the next year. If you are a returning teacher, this is the time to modify your plan. Look into new methods and alter your plans accordingly. You have a better idea of not only what works for the kids, but what works for you too.
Guided Reading and Math Binders
This is the system Teacher Hailey uses for small group instruction. Taking the time over the summer to essentially make a plan for your plans is such a good idea. She mentions that her plan from last year did not work that well, so now she is revising it. Doing this over the summer is so much easier than trying to completely change a system in the middle of the school year. Sometimes we have no choice, but summer break is a great time to really refine our systems to work better for us.
Procedures and Routines
Much like with the behavior management plan, establishing and refining your procedures and routines will prepare you for the next school year. Not only do you want to define the procedures and routines for your classroom, but also determine how you will teach those. Create engaging lesson plans for introducing them and methods for frequently reviewing them.
Parent Communication Plan
For me, this is always the most stressful part of teaching. I always worry that I’m either not communicating enough or I’m driving parents crazy with how much I’m contacting them. I really appreciate Teacher Hailey’s suggestion for keeping a log. This allows you to see at a glance who you’re contacting and how frequently. I also love the idea of having Grow and Glow notes. These are templates she created for herself that allow her to send quick notes home for where the student either has an opportunity for improvement or is really succeeding. You could easily implement this digitally or physically.
First Week Activities
As mentioned in this post, getting your first week’s activities planned and prepped is a great time-saver. I appreciate her stating the benefit of grouping those activities into how a typical day is structured. This will go a long way in setting expectations for students early on. For example, by including an activity about library procedures during the typical time you would go to the library, students will anticipate doing that activity at that time of day or week. This schedule and routine building will be more important for some students than others, but all students will benefit from it.
Taking the time to establish both a physical and digital organization system for yourself is so important. I’ll never forget my first year of teaching, I spent way too many hours before and after school just trying to find things. Finally, one day I stayed after school for many hours just organizing all the cabinets and drawers and labeling everything. After I finally created a proper organization system, prepping and cleaning up took a fraction of the time and saved many hairs on my head too! Learn from me, use your summer to create an organizational system that will work for you.
This was something I brought over rather easily from my corporate management career, we called it delegating. You will find, regardless of if the person is 7 or 47, people like to feel like they are helping and contributing. By giving students jobs, they will feel important and like they matter. It can also help take some things off your plate too. My favorite class job is Mailbox Manager, this is the person who delivers all the papers to the students’ mailbox. You don’t have to have a mailbox system for this to work, you get a general idea. Class jobs are so beneficial for students of all ages and you as the teacher.
Self Care Plan
This is a brilliant idea and I’m ashamed to admit, that I’d never thought about it. Stop what you’re doing right now. Go pull out a calendar and plan how you will take care of yourself this school year. Block out time monthly and weekly. Schedule things to take care of yourself, maybe that’s getting your nails done or your hair cut, maybe it’s getting a massage or taking a spinning class. Maybe you can create a weekly routine of having a date night with your spouse or a game night with friends. Whatever it is that you can do to care for yourself, plan it now or you know as well as I do, it will get put on the back burner and never happen. Also, try to find a way to care for yourself daily. For me, my daily self-care is my bedtime routine, it is a bit elaborate according to my husband, but it helps me unwind and wake up refreshed. Take the time to make time to care for yourself.
This one can be difficult if you are a new teacher or at a new school or in a new grade/subject. If you can, try to familize yourself with your curriculim. Review the contents, standards, and pacing. Also get to know how the teacher guides are laid out. Teacher Hailey recommends planning your first unit or module of lessons. This is a great idea. I would suggest at a minium, look at what the first few weeks will look like so you are going into the new school year prepared.
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