Back to School Guide for Primary Teachers
So... you’re probably all busy getting ready to go back to work and wondering what back to school essential jobs you should be doing. Are you feeling like you have missed something off your list? Have you prepared all you can for the coming academic year?
To help educators, here's our top 10 list of things to consider before your new students come back to school:
10 Back to School Tips for Primary Teachers
1 - Get your classroom organised!
Your room has probably been deep cleaned over the summer holiday, so now is your chance to set it up how you want it to be. Decide your where your tables will be in the room and who will sit at each one. Ensure you have resource boxes on your tables for pens and Group Name Labels if you want them. Although these are small tasks, they’re all important and necessary to get in place before term begins. It is much easier to keep your classroom organised and tidy if everyone knows where things are kept.
2 - Set your behaviour expectations clearly
Talk to your class and come up with some class rules together.
What do they need to feel safe and confident this year?
What do you expect from them?
You’ll probably find you need to tone back, or rephrase, a few of their suggestions. Children can often be stricter and request harder punishments than might be necessary or appropriate. I remember one of my Year 1 classes wanting to have giant list of all the ways we shouldn’t hurt each other, and week long playtime bans for breaking any rules. After a short discussion we decided the rule ‘be kind to each other’ covered all eventualities on their list and was more positive than lots of ‘don'ts’.
Display your classroom rules and refer to them positively where possible.
3 - Have some fun, interactive games up your sleeve
Going back to school after the summer holidays can be challenging for some children, particularly if they are starting with a new class or teacher. It will take a little while to learn everyone's names and, of course, there will probably be a few additions to the class from last term.
Having a few ‘getting to know you’ style games up your sleeve will be handy here. Check out some of these icebreaker ideas from GPB Media. Or download this free Getting to Know You Bingo.
4 - Do you have any SEND or G&T children in your class?
If so, how will you support those children? Will you need to modify your teaching or resources? Will you need to modify your classroom layout?
It’s important to think about what the barriers to learning are for children with SEND, but also to consider whether any measures put in place for them might also benefit the whole class. Chances are that if something benefits your SEND or G&T children, it’s good for the others, too!
5 - Talk to the teacher who previously took your class
Most schools organise a class handover session so you can chat face-to-face with your class’s previous teacher. If your school doesn’t do this it is worth finding the time to meet with the previous teacher. They have had your class for a year, and can give you advice on any difficult parents or strategies that work well for particular students.
6 - Plan your first week of lessons & homework
Make sure you plan all your lessons and homework for your first week back in advance to save time and eliminate the risk of forgetting to give it out!
Have a read through our ultimate lesson planning checklist for more info.
7 - Work out your back to school essential priorities
Make sure you prioritise and spend your time on the most important jobs before you go back to school. It can be easy to spend hours printing and laminating labels for resources or displays, but facing the more challenging aspects of preparing for your new term will pay off in the long run!
8 - Make sure you know your way around your school
Knowing where the important facilities are in your school, like the toilets and the staffroom are important. Also spend time getting familiar with the schools policies on behaviour management and communicating with parents. Find out as much as you can, before the term starts to make settling in that bit easier.
9 - Don’t forget to ask questions (or to ask for help)
If you’re starting a new school this term then you may have already been introduced to your colleagues and had the grand tour of the school. However, it can be a lot to take in for your first week.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your fellow teachers. They can help you find resources, work the photocopier, come up with ideas to help a struggling student in your class. We have all been the new person at work before, and your colleagues will be more than happy to help you.
10 - Most importantly: MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF!
Book an activity and take a break from your work. Last term we wrote a popular article on How to achieve an NQT work-life balance. It can be easy to forget to make time for yourself, but it is important to give yourself time to recharge and relax.
Good luck to all our primary teachers out there for this upcoming term. If these back to school essential tips help you, please let us know. We hope you’ve all had a wonderful summer holiday and are looking forward to kicking off the new school year!
For those that haven’t registered yet, you can become a PlanBee member for free to access our range of free teaching resources as well as ordering our primary teaching resources.
Browse through our range of free teaching resources for the upcoming academic year, or use our Curriculum Objectives checker to help you work out how to approach a new topic this year when planning in line with the National Curriculum objectives as set by the Department of Education.