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Before the First Day of School Checklist

Its almost August, so most teachers are already starting to get mentally and physically ready for the beginning of the school year.  How do you get ready for the new school year?  Anyone who has been teaching for a while knows the most important rule of the first day– get them fed and get them home — but of course you want to be able so much more than this.  To be able to make your first day dreams come true, you need to get ready for that day.  Here are some tips to prepare in the week leading up to the the kids’ first day:

Meet your team

Whether you are self contained or departmentalized, you have a team of teachers that you will be working with during the school year.  There is usually at least some changes to the team from the previous school year.  Maybe you are the new guy or there are new teachers on your team.  Whether you know each other or not, meet up and make sure you have a plan.  You want to be consistent with your teammates and this is a great way to set up positive interactions for the school year.

Here are some things you might want to do with your team:

  • Visit each teacher’s classroom.  See if they need any help getting their room ready.
  • Eat lunch together.  During the school year, lunch time is tight.  This is a great time to bond with your team in a  more social environment while eating some yummy food.
  • Discuss school supplies.  What supplies are you going to collect from the students?  What supplies will the students keep and be responsible for themselves?  This may seem like a small thing, but consistency among a team on this issue is important, especially if you share students throughout the day.
  • Plan a fun team activity.  Whether its just a team t shirt to wear on “jean days” (what teacher doesn’t love casual dress days?) or its a trip to the local teacher supply store (or just an online trip together to Teachers Pay Teachers) plan something that you can do together as a team.

Learn the schedule

Make sure, and double sure, and triple sure, that you understand the school’s schedule.  The first day of school once you have a classroom full of students is too late to get clarification if you don’t understand the schedule.  Make sure you know when your students are supposed to eat lunch.  This is probably the most important part for the first day.  (Remember the most important rule of the first day– get them fed and get them home!)
Students are often nervous enough the first day back and they will need to see you confident in leading them through their school day.  Make sure you are a schedule expert!

Get Organized

Get the year off to an organized start.  Years that I started organized, I was more likely to have less trouble with organization during the school year.  Years that I didn’t start organized were often tricky during the year to keep everything together.
What can you do before the school year to get ready to be organized?


  • Get a binder ready.  I like to get a really nice binder that I really like.  Even though I’m not the student anymore, I still have a love of school supplies!  I organize it with the sections that I know I’ll need throughout the school year.  I also put a pencil bag in it (like when I was a kid) so that I can store some pens and pencils, my iPhone, and some quarters for the soda machine.  That way, when I am around the school I will have everything I need with me.  I bring the binder to all meetings, that way when I get paperwork, agendas, notes, etc. I can put them away before I loose them!
  • Clean up.  You may have done it at the end of the school year last year, but if you haven’t, go through your “stuff”.  Get rid of what you don’t need and organize what you have.  This time of year, you can often get plastic baskets at the dollar store for cheap!  Remember, don’t let your classroom turn into an episode of hoarders, teacher edition!
  • Lesson plan.  Get at least a week or two of lesson plans under your belt.  The beginning of the school year is so busy.  You will be a lot happier if you don’t have to worry about lesson plans the first two weeks.  Go ahead and make your copies and get supplies ready, too!
Get ready for a great school year!

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