It's that time of year again! Aside from making sure we've packed an apple and that our school shoes still fit, back-to-school is one of the busiest times for teachers and it can feel a little overwhelming sorting through all the things we have to do!
Here are a few things to consider as you wave goodbye to your lazy summer days and usher in a new school year.
I've written before about the different levels of planning (individual lesson vs. unit overview vs. term-long or year-long planner) and how frequently zooming in or out from one to the other can make sure that there are no gaps in your program.
This can be an ideal time of year to get that broad picture sorted. Before we get too bogged down in assessment schedules and staff meetings and so on, think "big picture" about what you'd like your students to achieve by the end of the year, or even just the end of the term.
From there, you can spiral in and plan specific lessons in more detail.
I know I always feel more relaxed once I have all my timetables, rehearsal schedules, yard duty rosters and meetings written in my diary. Whilst getting hold of this information can sometimes be out of your hands, making an effort to chase it up can get the ball rolling on having all the info you need to get a picture of what your working week looks like. This leads to feeling much more organised!
Classroom Set Up
Depending on your situation, you may have changed rooms (or even schools) between last year and the new year, or even if you're still in the same spot, you may be feeling like a change.
Cleaning up your classroom, setting up fresh displays and making sure all your equipment is stored the way you want it before classes start leads to a much smoother beginning to the year, for both you and your students.
You can take a look at my classroom set up here.
Do you run any ensembles such as bands or choirs? Does your school have a production or gala concert sometime during the year?
Getting started on planning for these events now can seem like overkill, but really is necessary for big-scale items to succeed.
In many cases, things like excursions or concerts require bookings months in advance and things like performances may need to be approved by your school's leadership team. Having this done now saves you scrabbling to get the paperwork filled in later on!
Consider things like repertoire or performance opportunities for your ensembles, if/when you're going to audition new members and how can you recruit for these bands.
For major events, build a rehearsal schedule, look at things like licensing, venue hire and start reaching out to the school community for helpers with things like costume sewing bees or choreography.
What other things occupy your Back-To-School To-Do list? Feel free to drop us a line with suggestions!