If you're determined to get a head start this school year, here are a list of some things that you can do now to get yourself ahead:
1) Label all the things
Labelling is not just about being anal and obsessive: in a classroom setting it is absolutely vital, especially if you're a secondary teacher as you can have over 100 different students come through your classroom every day so they’re not likely to remember where everything is in the room! Therefore having things labelled saves so much stress as being constantly asked where things are is enough to drive anyone batty…!
I like to give birthday cards to my students, but 30 birthdays is a lot to prepare for and if you purchase cards individually you can be £3 each which gets pricey! So save time and money and bulk buy cards - I recommend Amazon as they have great deals and of course, it's delivered to your doorstep! Here are some affiliate links of a few of my favourites and BEST deals:
3) Write birthday cards in advance
Instead of writing students’ birthday cards the day before (or morning of in some cases ?) why not spend 20 minutes knocking them all out at once and having them ready to go so you can just pull them out in the morning of their birthday? How much time is that going to save! Simple but effective but getting ahead with this will save you so much time and stress in the long run.
This is one of my favourite tips. When I was first teacher training, the school I was working in had a rule where displays had to be changed every 6 weeks..! ? But they were right as after a few months, students stop noticing the displays and so they run their course. We know it’s important to keep the boards fresh but in all honesty, it's the kind of thing that just falls to the bottom of the list. Hence timeless, dynamic boards! So spend time decorating the background and making it timeless and then have designated spaces for student work that can be easy swapped by use of paper clips or clothes pegs. This makes it easy to change up work; in fact, it’s so easy your students could be responsible for doing it for you - even better.
5) Write email templates to save time
Sometimes you’ll have occasions where you tend to be writing the same thing in response to colleagues or parents. In this case, have a bank of templates and keep them in your drafts or on a word document and just copy and paste. Oh the time you’ll save..!
This one is a life saver! You can keep a bank of resources on Google Drive so that when you're ill or going to be absent from school, you can just link to your resources in your Google Classroom or equivalent. That way, you can technically set work from your phone while in bed!
But if you've not gone digital yet, the concept works with the paper option too - just have a cabinet of resources that your colleague can find and pull out worksheets to get going with. This also works for early finishers too. Just make sure it’s replenished when supply is low so you don’t get caught out with needing to photocopy at the last minute! This can be managed by putting a sheet of paper every 30 sheets or so that reminds you to restock. To make it even more organised for yourself, place this reminder in a plastic sleeve with the original at the back so you can simply pick up that reminder and place it on your desk / photocopy tray along with the original to remind you to do it. Or, if you're fortunate enough to have a TA or reprographics department who can help you out with photocopying, you can just give it to them! If you like this idea and want to use it, I have created a freebie of this photocopy reminder resource for you!
For some reason the mind goes blank when it comes to sitting down and writing reports... Hence hello templates! Here's afree PDF of report card comments that has some great starting points for you! You won’t be copying and pasting these statements exactly of course, but sometimes just seeing some examples or sentence starters will be a trigger to give you some inspiration and make the job so much quicker for you!
I hope these tips help you get ahead in your teaching and save you time in the long run; do something today that your future self with thank you for!