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By Wendy Verdaasdonk
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The 2021 Back to School Checklist for Teachers

The start of a new school year is fast approaching. Brand new notebooks, fresh pens, new faces, it’s an exciting time! It can also be overwhelming though, where do you even start? Well... Here!

We’ve put together a list for you that includes the essentials and also some fun back to school inspiration. You’ll be ready for the start of the year in no time!


Back to school!

Get organized

It might be an obvious start, but it’s easy to overlook the little things that need organising. Here’s a quick essentials checklist:

  • Refill your stationary cabinet, and have some extras ready in case your students are in need. Think pens, highlighters, scissors, glue, rulers, sharpeners, erasers and paper.
  • Stock up on rewards if you use physical rewards such as stickers, badges and certificates.
  • Label your newly organized cabinets and drawers so your students can easily find what they need.
  • Archive your files from last year, both physical and digital.
  • Get a seating plan ready


Spruce up your classroom

New year, new classroom! A lot of what’s in your classroom from last year will still work, but who doesn’t enjoy a little creativity before the year begins? Hang up some lights, make a little reading corner, or simply replace your classroom posters with some new ones. There are tons of free printables on Pinterest. You can even find templates for name cards there, which look great and help you remember the names of your new students. Win-win!


Get to know your students

If you’re teaching a completely new group of students, it can give you a great advantage to get to know them a little before the start of the year. Discuss the students with their former teacher, or read the available documentation. Also make sure to think of some fun ice-breaking activities that help you get to know your students. A few examples are:

  • If the students are new to each other as well as to you, start with a super simple name game. Throw a ball around and name the person you’re throwing to.
  • Let everyone write down their favourite colour, height and a hobby on a piece of paper. Then, read out the papers and guess together who belongs to which fun facts.
  • Open the door to each other by having everyone tell a story based on their bunch of keys. What’s the story behind their keychains?
  • Write down a ‘get to know you’ question on the blocks of a (giant) Jenga game. Each student must answer the question of the block they pick.


Prepare your lesson plans

Get ahead of the game and have your lesson plans ready for at least the first week. That way, you make it a lot easier for yourself to get started again and re-acclimatized to full-time teaching. Maybe you’re full of inspiration after the summer break, but don’t worry if you’re having some trouble getting back into it. There’s tons of lesson plan inspiration online, we’ve also prepared some ready made lesson plans that you can use! Find them in the menu bar under ‘lesson plans’.


Update your online classroom

Make sure to update your tools to reflect your new class! Get the logins ready now, so that you can get straight into it with your new class. You can give your online environment a spruce up too! The start of the school year is a great time to try out a fun new teaching tool. Some tools will offer a free trial; with Manghigh this lasts a month and gives you access to all activities. Try it out with your students and see if it fits them! If so, you can keep using it for the rest of the year, but if not, there’s no harm done.


Take a deep breath

Last but not least, take a deep breath. The start of the school year is exciting, but also a massive change for everyone involved. So take it easy, and allow yourself time to get back into it. There are some tips on mental health for teachers in this blog that you might find helpful.


We hope this list has been helpful to you, and we’d love to know your back to school tips for teachers. Let us know via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram so we can share them with the Mangahigh community!

By Wendy Verdaasdonk
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