By Teachers, For Teachers
As a child I used to hate rainy days during the summer. I felt its presence ruined all my fun! While humming the familiar tune,“Rain rain, go away, please come back another day,” I would lazily flip through the television channels, reluctantly play with my younger sister, or repeatedly inform my parents I was bored with nothing to do.
Today as I think about the many things I need to do to prepare for the new school year, I gladly welcome a rainy day here and there. Rainy days allow me an opportunity to slow down from the active and often over-planned summer days. I use this opportunity to mark off a few things on my endless “to do before school starts” list.
While I strongly believe teachers should take some time to relax and recoup before the new school year, we all know how hard that can be when you are often mindful of the many things you need to do. To make returning to school a little less hectic, I try to complete a few tedious tasks at home during those rainy days.
Since my school has a website that allows me to view my classlist over the summer, I am able to write in student names, parent information, birthdays, emails, etc into my hard copy grade book. I also set up tabs with various subjects and quarters, and go through the school calendar to mark specific events. Since we also have an online gradebook, I will log in and set it up as well.
Many teachers rely only on the online gradebook. I don't. Computers are wonderful but unfortunately can fail. Having this backup has proven to be a lifesaver!
Write, address, and stamp letters or postcards to students so they are ready to be mailed a few weeks before school starts. Be sure to put them in a place you will remember!
One year I couldn't remember where I had placed them and ended up writing them over- only to find them a month after school started!
A must have item for every teacher, a label maker! I love mine! I make labels for student folders, student workbooks, containers, etc. I place the labels in a ziploc baggie and I am all set. You can also set up birthday, job, or other student charts you may have purchased over the summer.
Prepare your welcome back packet for students/parents which includes your rules, procedures, expectations, special announcements, etc. Save to flashdrive or send to your school email address so you are ready to print and handout.
I make sure this is separate from my own personal sites. Create passwords that are easy to remember and user friendly. If you already have a class website, be sure to update.
Update email contact list with parent/student emails. Again this is if you have access to this information prior to school beginning. Most school email addresses are accessible for home and easy to update.
Here is a quick guide for getting your files organized and save yourself tons of time throughout the school year.
Set up homework folders, reading folders, and communication folders. Set up or organize teacher binders.
Catch up on your reading. Take a little time to check out blogs, websites, and other sources for new activities or lessons.
Sketch out your classroom and play around with new ways to set up the classroom. Sometimes just moving one shelf or a different desk arrangement can make a big difference. If your room is perfect as is, sketch out bulletin boards, or centers so you can easily gather materials and set them up.
You don't need a rainy day to do this, however; rainy days are perfect in setting up a “brainstorming pow wow” luncheon with coworkers. Share your ideas, compare to do lists, and discuss ways to make the new school year a successful and great year!
If you or your co-workers have children, make it a play date- the kids have fun, and you get a little “grown up time”.
What are some things you do during the summer to lessen the back to school work load?