‘I have so much to do!’ It’s the August mantra for teachers everywhere. As we edge towards the opening of school gates your to-do list is probably growing longer than a Leonard Cohen song – which is overwhelming for everyone.
Fortunately, we have taken some time to put together a thorough list of some of the key things you should focus on. Here is our ultimate back to school checklist for teachers:
1. All systems GO!
Improvising is certainly a vital skill in education, but it’s not something you’re going to want to rely on for every single occurrence in a busy classroom. Take a good amount of time to create firm structures for all the possible eventualities you can think of. We are talking everything from:
- Seating layouts.
- How homework is assigned and handed in.
- Recess routines.
- Which apps and or Learning Management systems you will be using.
- Set places for equipment to be stored.
- How behavior incidents will be handled.
- What students should do when they first enter the classroom.
- How to request to go to the toilet.
- Recording student absences.
- How students should handle and use digital devices.
To name but a few – it may sound like a lot of hard work but your future self will thank you.
Go into as much detail as you need to make yourself feel comfortable with these routines and ready to familiarize your students with them. Remember a little bit of flexibility will likely be necessary to account for any unforeseen circumstances or student needs.
"Using the appropriate technology with the intention of supporting an inclusive learning environment, coupled with sound pedagogy, makes for a powerful combination that ultimately benefits all learners." 🙌 Learn more from @hillarygfphdatp → https://t.co/wDcudUWdm1 pic.twitter.com/lJOU5f4IWJ
— Kami (@usekamiapp) February 27, 2019
2. Templates – the key to speedy emailing
How much of your life do you spend sending emails? Complimentary emails, bureaucratic emails, reminder emails, behavior emails, progress emails… it all adds up and can take away precious hours of time.
One great way to set yourself up for the year is to draft a solid set of templates for your regular communications. For every template make clear which areas need to be tweaked and personalized for each situation, e.g names, events, dates or other specifics. Then save them somewhere easily accessible.
An extra tip – templating some of your trickiest email correspondences can really help you to tackle the situation head-on without being stuck for the right phrases. For example, having a pre-made draft to inquiries about low grades or behavior can help you set the correct tone right off the bat.
3. Lesson planning for greatness
Lesson planning is likely one of your main back to school tasks. How else are you going to ensure that your students are learning all the skills they need to succeed?
But don’t forget to create your grand plan with your intended destination in mind. This could mean factoring in key skills that will feature at the end of year exam or incorporating your own learning goals for students. Either way keeping your eyes on the prize and planning with a clear agenda will help you and your students to be more successful.
4. Prep some fun 5 min fillers – you never know when you’ll need them
School life is filled with awkward 5-minute waits or transitions between activities. A fantastic way to keep your class engaged and focused is to have a stash of quick time filler activities at hand.
Ranging from a quick riddle to solve, practicing key spelling words, a short writing exercise, anagrams, puzzles or maths questions – you can be as inventive as you like!
— Kami (@usekamiapp) August 12, 2015
5. Learn your tech
Nothing holds up a lesson quite like a technical difficulty. Some are unavoidable facts of life, but many can be mitigated with a bit of tech-savvy and familiarity with your digital tools.
Try to spend some time, in the run-up to school, playing with the devices and software you intend to use in the classroom. Get familiar with how you as a teacher will be using tech, but also flip the experience and get a feel for what students will be doing. This way you are best placed to help them with any questions or difficulties.
Bear in mind that choosing accessible and intuitive apps specifically designed for classroom use, will make use easier and be less challenging to incorporate.
6. Nail the names
It may sometimes feel like the icing on the cake, but knowing all your students by name is the first step to truly connecting with your class. If you will have a lot of brand new classes this year try and get a head start by reading up on who will be joining you. Not only will this help familiarise you with names, but learning the background of your students can also inform things like your lesson goals and, specific management strategies.
Many school databases now have pictures of students on file so you can start putting names to faces straight away.
Some may say that Kami and #GoogleClassroom go together like peanut butter & jelly 🥜🍓. Learn why from one of our @TheKamiHeroes on this week's #teachertip → https://t.co/b1j6AxGkQ6 pic.twitter.com/lQiHiVG9KL
— Kami (@usekamiapp) April 23, 2019
7. Prep for your first week
Last but certainly not least, prepare for the mania of the first week back. A good selection of activities that ease students, and you, back into the routine with plenty of ice breakers to set you up for the rest of the year.
Remember to be reasonable with your expectations for the first few lessons – there will be a lot of new information for everyone so don’t make things too complicated!
Do you have the digital tools you need to get the most of the next school year? Get in touch with the team at Kami today at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about harnessing tech in the classroom.