The Ultimate Back to School Checklist for Teachers

Summer always comes and goes in a flash, and suddenly, it’s time for educators to say goodbye to the break and get ready for another school year. No matter how long you’ve been teaching, it never hurts to have a refresher or guidebook to help you navigate those busy weeks leading up to September. Here’s a helpful checklist to help teachers get back into classroom-mode and prepare for the school year ahead.

Get organized

Every successful school year starts with great organizational systems—both for you and your students. Here are a few ideas to consider:

Map out your classroom and determine the best layout for student desks, your own desk, shared tech spaces, bookshelves and other classroom furniture. Don’t forget to include coat storage, rugs, plants, flexible seating and other unique elements.

Review your class list and familiarize yourself with student files. Ensure that you have all the administrative forms you need (for example, emergency contact lists and student allergy information).

Create a seating chart (if not allowing flexible seating).

Label everything (yes, everything). This includes books, office supplies, Chromebooks, audio/visual equipment and other technology, art supplies, storage baskets and more. Get creative with custom labels from Oliver’s Labels.

Create an emergency kit with first aid supplies, a class list, fire and evacuation procedures and other necessary items.

Consider making a kit to support students with anxiety. Fidget toys, comfort items and calming activities are a great starting point.

Identify which supplies are available/on hand and what is needed. Do you need take home folders for students, binders to hold resource materials, or notebooks for use in class? Do you have enough creative materials, writing implements and academic workbooks? Remember, Staples offers an educator discount through our Teacher Membership program to help with any purchases made directly by teachers.

Plan first day icebreakers and other activities that fall outside of your normal lesson plans and curriculum.

Buy or create visuals for your classroom

Whether you’ve been in the same classroom for years or are working with a blank slate, it’s time to freshen up those walls. Every classroom is different, but here are some common areas to address:

Your classroom door: Greet your students with visuals and messaging that’s bright, welcoming and motivational. Consider a quote from a book, public figure or community leader.

Bulletin boards: Whether you pick a theme, a colour palette or another unifying element, your bulletin boards are a great way to add colour and personality to a classroom while sharing important information. Consider including personalized elements like a birthday chart, class reward chart or progress trackers. Get inspiration here.

Information zone: Pick a spot to display your weekly schedule, classroom helper jobs, fire safety routines, rules for student conduct, homework expectations, late policies and other pertinent details. This area should be clearly visible and in a high traffic area.

Desks: If you’re working with younger students, make a nametag for each desk. This is helpful for both kids and teachers as everyone settles in.

Cubbies and/or hooks: Create personalized labels for any areas students use to store their belongings. You may want to use baskets or other organizational tools to keep this area tidy.

Resources and homework areas: Clearly label and decorate areas where student resources are shared as well as a place to hand in homework (essentially your inbox).

Start communicating

As the first day of school approaches, consider reaching out to students and/or parents (depending on the grade you’re teaching). Introduce yourself, share your classroom routines and other important information, let students and/or parents know what supplies will be needed, set behavioural expectations and let everyone know you’re ready for a great school year.

Enjoy the rest of your summer break

It’s great to be prepared for that first week of September but remember: summer isn’t over quite yet. Once you’ve had time to get organized, take some time to relax and enjoy the final weeks or days of your vacation. You’ve earned it, so soak it all in before diving back into another busy school year

By Staples Canada

August 09, 2022