Maybe it's just me, but I always find August to be stressful. There's so much back-to-school prep required to get my classroom put back together and to prepare for the arrival of my new students.
Creating an effective classroom can be overwhelming on its own and with the addition of professional development and the never-ending mandatory meetings, I often end up feeling panicked.
Over the years, I've worked hard to figure out how to reduce this stress because it leaves me struggling to sleep at night some years!
No one wants to start the school year already stressed out. I decided to share my favorite tips that can help you jumpstart your back-to-school prep as you transition into summer.
5 things to do now to stop back to school stress
Each of these easy-to-implement tips is designed to take you 20 minutes or less to make them easy to tackle as you close up shop for the year. While it may seem silly to do some of these in May or June, you'll appreciate having them done when you arrive back on campus in the fall.
If you're a new teacher, getting these things done now can really save you HUGE chunks of time and stress later so don't hesitate to jump in and mark a few of these off your list, even if you didn't know they were expected.
1. Update your Meet the Teacher letter.
Nearly all campuses require teachers to send home an introduction letter. This letter gives your students and their parents a chance to meet you before they're actually back in school. Taking 10-15 minutes to update this letter as you move into summer means you're ready to check this off your list when your principal asks for it during your first week back.
Once summer staff development hits, your to-do list will get out of control quickly. It feels great to be able to check something off right away and not have to worry about it again.
Set aside 10-15 minutes and take a few minutes to look over the letter you send home with students those first days of school. As you read, consider whether it gives families the first impression you hope to give.
You are much more likely to make meaningful adjustments when you aren't stressed with a list of 500 other things to print, laminate, or prep.
Upload your letter to your digital classroom and if you've got extra copies, you can even print them and put them in your files for back-to-school.
2. File this year & set-up for the next year.
Some of us keep binders, others have file folders, and some prefer to keep everything digitally. Regardless of HOW you organize, the end of the year is a great time to evaluate how your system is working for you.
If you feel good about your system, there's no reason to make huge adjustments. However, taking a few minutes to prepare your files for next year can be helpful.
Personally, I like to keep a binder. Before I walk out on the last day, I like to take a few minutes to clear out this year's information so it is ready to go for next year.
First, I remove rosters, data, and other information I have on this year's students and put them into a file folder that I keep for 3 years before shredding it.
Next, I print out next year's academic calendar. This lets me write important dates into my planner when I'm getting started so I can plan around these as I lay out my units.
I also make sure to clear out the data and lesson plans portions of my binder for the next year. I keep my lesson plans in a file folder so I can easily find them when I'm planning this year.
Finally, I clean out any spare papers in my catch-all plastic folder tabs.