Planning ahead is a way of life for teachers. We have to plan, prepare, and prepare some more. Here are some ways that I prepare to help make my year a little easier.
Every year before school starts I send a newsletter out to my students. Our office is kind enough to print labels for us. While I’m doing this I ask for a couple of extra sets. Then I put labels and stamps on a few sets of post cards to keep handy in my desk. As the year continues I grab a few every week and jot a nice note and pop them in the mail. The students appreciate getting a “happy gram” from their teacher and I make sure that I don’t forget anyone because the cards are all done! It’s little organizational things like this that can make our school year easier.
I usually like to give students little gifts now and then. What teacher doesn’t? I don’t really associate them with anything in particular, just a little surprise to brighten their day. Of course I usually have an ulterior motive. Too many kids dogearing the pages of books? Hey everyone get’s a book mark. Everyone running out of pencils? Here’s some fancy pencils for the class. I save money and time by anticipating my needs and ordering in bulk at the beginning of the year. Companies like Oriental Trading Company offer super cheap pencils, erasers, and other items.
Another way that I support myself is with my “Teacher Kit.” If you’re a veteran teacher you know what I’m talking about. Snacks, deodorant, medicine, water bottles, extra sweater, comfy shoes. There are days when I spend long hours at school and my little teacher kit comes in handy. There are also times when you can’t anticipate a headache…or worse. It’s nice to have the appropriate treatments on hand.
I like to prepare my substitute materials at the beginning of the year as well. We each have a tub for these items in our classrooms so I update my class list, seating chart, and medical alerts chart right away. I also check to make sure there are some emergency sub plans and a few activity books or magazines just in case. With this I also put together an emergency folder. I like to have a nice hot pink folder that has all of the emergency contact information for my class. It’s great for fire drills, field trips, and just looking up a parent’s phone number.
Lastly, this year I am trying something new. That is I’m setting up a manicure schedule for myself. Hey, I work hard and I deserve to treat myself. Plus, when you use a document camera you really need to have well groomed fingernails!
How do you plan ahead to make your year go smoothly?