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Survey says? Top 3 things teachers need to start the school year

August may be still summer but as the month progresses our thoughts begin to turn back to the new school year. Parents and students are shopping for back to school supplies, including computers, books, planners, organizers and clothes. But how do teachers prepare for the first day back?

Survey Results

University of Massachusetts Global recently conducted a survey of over 400 educators and administrators from Pre-K to post graduate levels and asked them to identify the most important preparations teachers need to make for the new school year and three stood out above the rest.

  1. A Comfortable Pair of Walking Shoes

    Almost everyone listed a new pair of comfortable walking shoes! Having the proper footwear can reduce fatigue which in turn makes you more productive. In her blog KinderCraze, Marie Manore estimates that she walks over 2 miles per day in her teaching position.

    For those metric minded, consider wearing a pedometer or other wellness tracking device to help you monitor your natural daily distance. You may be pleasantly surprised by not only how accurate it can be but also how much it can motivate you to challenge your fitness activities.

    Be prepared for that first day back by trying a few styles and heel heights before you start back to school. Sharon Noble, MA, BCBA says, “because every year is a journey of a thousand steps (at least) and our feet need support just like we do!”

  2. A Way to Capture Ideas and Information

    Whether you choose to go old school with paper and pen or capture your ideas using the latest tech tool you need to have something close at hand to collect and organize information and ideas.

    Shannon Fish, a high school teacher in Lancaster Ohio says, “Post-It notes (and I’m an advocate for fun colors)! They’re perfect for reminders, but also fun as exit tickets. Post-its cling to a desktop, so notes- to-self stay where you put them.”

    And of course don’t forget the dry erase marker and erasers. Alison Meyers instructor and author of Power of the Picture Book likes to start her year with, “New planner, new syllabus, new books."

  3. A Refreshed Attitude

    Spending your summer with family and friends, traveling, taking courses, exercising, and resting hit the top of the list for back to school preparations. Taking time to recharge and get a fresh perspective helps make you a better teacher.

    Joyce Bogdan, a teacher for English language learners suggests bringing postcards of all the places you visited to share with your students!

    While you are enjoying your time off Nancy Santarella suggests buying something fun for your classroom or office – Fun is super important! Something visually appealing – beauty is important! Something just for you – you are important!

Essential Supplies

In addition to these top three things teachers need to start the school year, educators also must stock up on the essential supplies for the classroom. This easy to follow checklist gives you a step by step guide in preparing for your first day back.

For Teachers

  • Plan your bulletin boards.
  • Decide where you want to post announcements, menu, and calendar.
  • Post a sign with your name outside the door along with a class list. Students and parents will appreciate it when they go looking for the right room.
  • Gather and organize all your supplies:
    • Textbooks and supplemental materials
    • Plan books
    • Classroom reading books and read-alouds
    • Attendance materials
    • Paper clips
    • Various types of paper (e.g., writing, construction, math)
    • Folders
    • Different kinds of tape
    • Grade book
    • Rubber bands
    • Stapler and staples
    • Pencils/pens
    • Tissues

For Students

Prepare take-home packets or better yet a website for your students. Some of the items you'll want to include are:

  • Welcome message (for parents and students)
  • Emergency forms
  • School rules
  • Supply list
  • Bus or transportation rule
  • Suggested reading list.
  • Due dates for forms

For Assistants

Set up a folder for a substitute to use in case of emergency, containing the following:

  • Daily schedule
  • Seating chart
  • Reproducible activities
  • Prepare a file for correspondence from parents.
    • Include a section for faculty bulletins. 
    • Obtain a copy of state and district curriculum standards.
    • Write tentative lesson plans for the coming week.
    • Make copies of materials you'll be handing out during the first few days.
    • Provide your name and other important class information.

Whether you're a seasoned professional or new teacher, being an educator means always learning and growing. University of Massachusetts Global offers professional development programs for teachers and administrators that focus on student outcomes, teaching skills and leadership. Explore courses offered through our School of Extended Education and keep up on your training by attending our monthly webinars for educators



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