What you need to do before the new school year

Those summer holidays flew by, didn’t they? Whether you spent them in your garden, on holiday, inside with the kids or however else people like to entertain themselves these days, it’s time to accept the sad truth that our time off is nearly over.

Try not to cry. It’s every teacher’s dream come true to get on the stationary hunt, ready for the year ahead. What if I told you that there was more to being well prepared than simply buying shiny new pens? What if I told you that I had already written a helpful checklist that details everything that I think you’ll need before the new school year?

What if I told you that you’re already reading it?

Subject knowledge

Teachers are experts in their fields, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t get rusty. Pull out the textbooks, or BBC Bitesize, or whatever else it is that you’ve used in the past to help you to memorise the content that you’ll be teaching.

What? Did you think that teachers just already knew this stuff? Give your brain a refresh of the content you’ll be delivering in the new school year to ensure that your explanations are up to scratch.

Prepare those resources

Would you be quiet already? I know that you’ve already got a set of pens, and paper clips, and post-its – and even a stapler – but have you remembered to collect new sets of books for each of your classes? What about lined paper for when they inevitably leave their books at home?

Have you emptied any resource folders of leftover papers from last year? What about your shelves, are they nice and tidy? Make sure there’s room for the kids’ books on them, while you’re at it!

(Here’s a link to my pen of choice this year, in case you really aren’t that prepared yet)*

Dress to impress

Remember that stain you got on your shoes at the end of last year? (No? Just me?) Best be sure to get that sorted out. Apparently shoes are one of the first things that people notice when they first meet you, so a shiny shoe could make the difference between a good and great first impression.

Oh, your suit no longer fits? Time for a new one. Stains under the armpits of your shirts? Gross, buy another (we’ve all been there). Personally, I like to get one new suit every year that I’m teaching, as a little treat to myself and to mix up the wardrobe without splurging all at once.

The first week

I gave a talk to lots of trainee teachers at the University of Birmingham, offering them advice on their first year in the profession. The number one question was ‘should I prepare lessons over the summer?’

My answer? That depends. For them: God, no – wait until you’ve figured out what resources your school already has. You might need to prepare stuff from scratch, or simply adapt current material to fit your classes. If you want more tips on how to spend your final days of summer as and ECT, click here. Or, if you want my main takeaway from my first year in teaching, click here.

On the other hand, if you’ve been teaching for a few years: God, yes, you should prepare yourself!

But don’t go overboard. Just get the first week ready, so you’re organised and good to go. Chances are, if your school have an INSET at the end of summer, you’ll have paid time to get yourself ready – which is even better.

How are you getting ready for the new school year?

*Asterisks are affiliate links, so I may earn a small kickback at no extra cost if you make a purchase after clicking.

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