There are many back to school survival tips you’ll find when you search the internet. Heading back to school for a new year, whether you’re a new teacher or a seasoned one, can be overwhelming, and we’re all bound to forget one thing or another. I’ve compiled this list of five back to school survival tips that will ensure you are ready and prepared when you head to school on that first day back.
Back to School Survival Tips: Be Over-Prepared
I am starting my 7th year of teaching this fall, and the one thing I have learned and the best of these back to school survival tips, is to be over-prepared for the first day. Have extra sheets, icebreakers, desks, etc. You will need them. I have had six first days of school plus three first days of summer school. It is a given that something will go wrong. Having some extra sheets, an extra desk, or extra games or lessons planned ensures that you are prepared for just about anything. Keep extras of all the forms and handouts from the first day because, inevitably, you will get a new student that day, week, month, or year.
On the first day of school in my 2nd year of teaching, I had just finished roll call, and a student said to me, “You forgot to call me.” I searched up and down the class list for their name. They assured me the principal told them I was their teacher. I immediately paged the office, and the principal (who did not tell them I was their teacher) took the student around to check all the other homeroom classes. Sure enough, I was not their new teacher. Now I feel really silly about calling the principal instead of checking with the other teachers, but hey, I was still a newbie.
Back to School Survival Tips: Alphabetical Seating Plan
I usually have to learn between 90-120 students’ names the first week of school, and it’s probably more for some of you who are middle school rotary teachers. I want to know all their names by the end of the first week. So I seat all the students alphabetically by last name. I write their names on the desk with dry-erase markers so they can easily find their seats.
Once you’ve established who everyone is, you can use something like my Flexible Choice Seating Cards. Flexible seating choice cards are a great classroom management tool. It provides students with variety in their seating plan and is a tool to help students get to know more students. These work for class sizes of up to 35 students. You can find these on Teachers Pay Teachers USD or Shopify CAD.
If you’re curious about seating options for the classroom, you might like this post: 5 Budget Friendly Flexible Seating Ideas.
Back to School Survival Tips: Wear Comfortable Shoes
The first day of school is not the best time to try out your new sky-high heels, dress shoes, or combat boots. You will be standing all day, which you have not been doing, most likely, in the summer. I guarantee there will be a fire drill, timetable mix-up, or an unexpected field trip. If you want to be in great shape for day two, wear comfortable shoes or break in your new shoes the week before.
And speaking of shoes, your students might enjoy this media literacy and consumer awareness lesson on Expensive Shoes. This lesson examines several popular brands and explains what was found when each shoe was tested. You can find the Media Literacy and Consumer Awareness Lesson – Expensive Shoes on Teachers Pay Teachers USD or Shopify CAD.
Back to School Survival Tips: Spice Up Your Icebreaker Games
I plan on using the game ‘Two Truths and a Lie’ and combining it with a snowball icebreaker:
- Each student will write two truths and one lie about themselves on a piece of paper.
- They will crumple it up and throw it into a bucket and mix it around.
- Then, the bucket will get passed around, and everyone will have a new snowball to read.
- The students then have to mingle around the classroom and ask other classmates to help them figure out who their snowball might belong to.
- Lastly, we will meet back up as a group to read the two truths and a lie to see if the person guessed right.
Minor changes can make these tried and true games more fun in the classroom.
You can also use a game like my Back to School Bingo to get students moving around the classroom, meeting their classmates. And the best part is that this icebreaker game is free!
How to play Back to School Bingo:
- Hand out the Bingo sheets to your students.
- The students will wander around the class and find classmates who fit the descriptions in the boxes of their sheets.
- Once they find the student who matches one of the descriptions, the student who matches will sign their initials in the box as proof.
You can have prizes for the first person to make a bingo, the first student to fill the whole card, or the first student to come and see you. Get creative! You can find this FREE Back to School Bingo game on Teachers Pay Teachers USD or Shopify CAD.
Back to School Survival Tips: Pack an Extra Water Bottle
After not talking all summer, your body will need to stay hydrated to keep up with the demands of the first day. Make sure to pack an extra bottle of water and drink it regularly throughout the day.
I hope these back to school survival tips were helpful for you and that they helped you remember something you may have forgotten about the first day of school. If you have any back to school survival tips I may have missed, connect with me on social media (@2peasandadog) to let me know.
If you’re looking for more back to school survival tips, check out these blog posts: