Back to School Tips

Back to School Tips

Regardless of whether you've been teaching a while, you're an NQT, or you're moving from SET back into a mainstream classroom (or vice versa) the first few days back at school can be stressful. You may be feeling more apprehensive this year in particular as a result of being out of the classroom for so long. Here at Acorn Educational we've divided a (non-exhaustive) list of 'Back to School Tips' which you can prepare ahead of time to make the first few days of the the school year run smoothly.
  • Have your class timetable ready.
    Having a timetable ready not only helps you with time management but it can also allow you to access the general level of the class.
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  • A familiar face.
    Some schools have made the decision for the previous class teacher to move on with the class for the next school year to aid with the transition after being out for so long, other schools haven't. Some children may be experiencing feelings of anxiety. The transition back to the classroom may be overwhelming for some. Don't panic. Perhaps seating them beside their friend for the first few days might make that transition slightly easier.
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  • Make classroom rules together.
    Start your day with SPHE where together you devise a list of classroom rules, rules which are important to the children (but also ensure safety). Ensure the rules are clearly displayed for the year. Creating an environment the children know their behavioural expectations, which can be looked back on throughout the year, will help with continuity.


  • Choose a behavioural management system.
    Some teachers use a traffic light system, some use Class Dojo, others have systems they've created themselves but having a clear system which the children understand will set you up for the year ahead. I love Dojo as we put the classroom rules into it and award points accordingly. For example our golden rule last year was 'Be Kind' which awarded +3 points. If a child was caught being kind (by myself, a station teacher, the teacher on yard duty or the private investigator (a child selected for the week)) they would be awarded the extra points. In my classroom points=prizes (seat pass, homework pass, lucky dip, cushion for the day, the VIP pencil case etc.)


  • Sort out the books.
    Print off a list of all the children's names in a table format with a box beside their name for each book. As they bring in their books label them and tick them off your book list sheet. This way you can easily keep track of who still has books to get.


  • Get to know them.
    Play some 'Get to Know Me' games with the class, try to have a chat with each child, play some ice breaker games. The better you get the know the children, the more comfortable they may feel. A safe learning environment is key.


  • Supply check.
    Have you all the arts & crafts resources you need? Have you resources for the next topic you're covering ready? Have you homework sorted? Time to organise this.
  • Start your assessment folder.
    Even getting a folder together with a divider for each child is a great start. Put a blank sheet at the start of their file to write any anecdotal notes that may crop up.


  • Enjoy it!
    If you're enjoying the first days back it's likely the children are too!
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Check out our blog post '6 Tried and Tested Classroom Organisation Tips' for more ideas on how to set up your classroom.