It is back to school again and time to kick into classroom setup gear – let us help you!
We know prepping for back to school in your first few years can be a daunting task – there is so much to do, consider and decide upon.
We asked some experienced teachers in our Rainbow Sky Community to share the advice they would give new teachers embarking on setting up their classroom and preparing for the first week of school. We have collated it in this blog post.
We have divided it into 2 parts: Before school starts for the year and once the students arrive. We hope you find some pearls of wisdom as you read through.
Back to School Classroom Setup Tips: Before school starts
1. Make Your Classroom Comfortable, Not Instagram Worthy
Okay, we get it – Instagram-worthy classrooms are all the rage. But honestly, prioritise creating a space where you genuinely enjoy spending your days, and that supports learning. Go for simple and functional over fancy. It’s about creating a vibe that says, “We’re here to learn, and it’s going to be awesome!”
2. Decorate with a Purpose
Continuing from the first point, decorating your classroom space is fun, but “Keep it purposeful.” Choose decorations that serve a function or tie into your lessons. Often, displays are best created and pinned up with your students rather than before the first day of school.
Bonus Tip: Having less on your classroom walls means there is less time fixing falling decor, which means more time for coffee breaks!
3. Quality Over Quantity in Resources
Invest wisely in your teaching resources. It’s better to have a few high-quality materials than an abundance of mediocre ones. Seek out resources that align with your teaching style and the needs of your students. Over time, you’ll develop a collection of materials that genuinely enhance your lessons.
4. Lamination vs Forever
To laminate or not to laminate? That is the question. Seriously though, think twice before going crazy with the laminator. Only some things need to last till the end of time (a lot less than you think). Save the fuss for the stuff that truly matters. For some alternative ideas to laminating – check out this blog post.
5. Meet the Teacher Mail
In the age of emails and instant messaging, there’s something special about ‘snail mail’. Consider sending your students a ‘meet the teacher’ note in the post or give it to them on the first day of school. It is a way for students to get to know you and is a personal touch that shows you care beyond the classroom.
Find this template here.
6. Keep the Tissue Box at the Back
Practical advice from veteran teachers: place the tissue box at the back of the room, not on your desk. This will minimise disruptions when students need tissues and encourage them to take responsibility for their needs. Not only that, but it also keeps those snotty germs away from your personal space!
Back to School Classroom Setup Tips: Once the students have arrive
1. Get Your Groove with Routines
So, rumour has it the secret sauce to a smooth year is routines. Spend some time in the first weeks building relationships, setting expectations, and showing your students how to be successful in your classroom.
Trust us, this little upfront investment is going to pay off big time later.
2. Set Clear Classroom Expectations
Clearly communicate your expectations to your students from the get-go. A positive vibe and a bit of structure go a long way. It sets the mood for the entire year and minimises disruptions. Plus, children feel safe knowing and understanding the boundaries you put in place.Click here to find this display.
3. Pencils Are Tools, Not Treasures
Forget making pencils the golden ticket. Hand them out freely and save yourself the drama. There are way cooler ways to teach responsibility without turning writing tools into treasures. Remember, students have what they need to complete learning tasks!
4. Prioritise Positive Relationships
Your classroom should be the safe haven where the magic happens. Focus on building positive relationships with your students from day one. As you begin to understand each individual, you will be able to tailor your teaching game accordingly.
Ice-breaker games are a great way to start building relationships in the first week. We talk about our favourites here.
5. Parent Partnerships for the Win
Build bridges with parents. They’re your allies! Regular communication through emails, newsletters, or parent-teacher conferences creates a partnership that benefits the kiddos in your care. It can be scary for a new teacher, but will definitely be worth facing the fear.
6. Celebrate Small Wins
Teaching can be a rollercoaster, so celebrate the small victories. Did Johnny finally conquer his times tables? High-fives all around! Embrace the wins, no matter how tiny – they all add up to a successful year.
And there you have it – 12 tips to kickstart your back to school preparation and classroom set up!
If you loved these tips from experienced teachers, then you need to get your hands on our ‘Advice for New Teachers’ FREEBIE!
Or, if you love to listen to a podcast, check out this episode where we share the do’s and don’ts of back to school classroom setup.
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