Primary Teacher Cheat Sheet – A Back to School Checklist

Teachers love a good checklist, and today we are bringing you the ultimate back to school checklist to help you feel organised and ahead of the game. 

The scent of freshly sharpened pencils and the promise of a brand new academic year are just around the corner. For new primary school teachers, the excitement may be tinged with a touch of nerves. 

Fear not! We’ve put together an essential back to school checklist to help you prepare for a successful and stress-free start to the school year.


1. Classroom Setup and Organisation:

Arrange desks and seating chart (you might want desk name tags too).

Decorate and organise displays.

Set up designated areas for supplies, student workbooks, and resources.

Ensure technology and audiovisual equipment are in working order.

Back to school classroom setup

2. Curriculum and Lesson Planning:

Review and familiarise yourself with the curriculum for the grade you are teaching.

Outline the first week’s lesson plans.

Prepare engaging and interactive activities for the first day – get some inspo here.

Make copies of the activities you have planned.

Create a system for daily planning and student progress (data collection – we recommend an assessment book). 

Back to school checklist

Find this activity here.

3. Supplies and Materials:

Check and restock basic supplies (pencils, erasers, paper, etc.). If you need to purchase these, save the receipts and claim them on your class budget. 

Organise and label classroom materials.

Ensure teaching aids are readily accessible.

Create a system for collecting and distributing student materials.

Back to school checklist

4. Classroom Policies and Procedures:

Establish clear classroom rules and expectations.

Develop routines for transitions, attendance, and classroom management.

Communicate classroom policies to students and parents.

Plan icebreaker activities to build a positive class culture. We have a great list to save you time here.

Setup a space for your teacher supplies and important time tables etc

Icebreaker games

5. Professional Development and Networking:

Research and register for relevant professional development opportunities.

Connect with mentor teachers or colleagues for guidance.

Join online forums or social media groups for educators – for example @rainbowskycreations.

Attend the initial staff meeting with a planner ready to take notes.

New teachers – consider joining our membership for New Teachers where we will support and mentor you throughout the year (plus provide some pretty awesome resources).

Back to school checklist - membership for new teachers


6. Self-Care and Well-being:

Establish a self-care routine to manage stress (eg: Hobbies, journalling, moving your body daily, practise mindfulness) 

Ensure a healthy work-life balance by putting routines and systems in place.

Set personal and professional goals for the year.

Identify support systems for when challenges arise (Beginning teachers, we can help with this inside Transform your First Years, our membership for New Teachers).


View the Self-care Journal for teachers here.

7. Welcome Letter to Parents and Students:

Draft a warm and informative welcome letter.

Include important information about the upcoming school year.

Highlight ways parents can be involved in their child’s education.

Back to school / classroom setup meet the teacher

Find this template here.

8. Technology Check:

Ensure that all necessary technology tools and login details are working.

Familiarise yourself with any new software or online platforms.

Test audiovisual equipment (eg your smartboard, interactive TV) so it is ready for the first day.Overcoming New Teacher Worries

9. Teacher Organisation and Tools

Set up an efficient filing system for lesson plans, student work, and important documents.

Create a weekly timetable.

Purchase a teacher planner / Daily workpad.

Purchase a Professional Development diary to track PD.

Establish a designated space for personal and professional resources to maintain a clutter-free classroom environment.

Back to school checklist

10. Reflection and Goal Setting:

  • Reflect on personal teaching philosophies and goals.
  • Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals.
  • Plan regular check-ins to assess progress and make adjustments.

Back to school checklist


Armed with this comprehensive back to school checklist, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle the challenges and embrace the joys of a new school year. 

Remember, every teacher is unique, so pick and choose from this back to school checklist to suit what will work for you. 

Wishing you a fantastic start to the academic year!

Rainbows ahead,

Alisha and Ashleigh


Did you know we have a podcast? Listen to our episode about our Top Classroom Display + Setup Hacks here:

What to read next:

5 Freebies for Beginning Teachers

Time Saving Hacks for Teachers

5 Classroom Displays that are FREE


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