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The Back-2-School Checklist for Teachers

The Back-2-School Checklist for Teachers

Julia G. Thompson |

Dear Julia-

I just got my first teaching job. I’m not working a second job this summer, and I’ve just reached a “bored” point. I’ve completed my personal to-do list for and I’m going to school in just three weeks! Are there things I can do before school starts to get ready so I don’t panic once pre-planning starts?



Dear Susan,

Congratulations on your new job! You are particularly fortunate to have found a position in the tight times that we are experiencing right now! I think all of us who have been teaching for a while have a very clear understanding of what you mean when you say you are bored with planning and preparation at this point. It happens even when we have the best intentions and lots to do.

I have a list here that is from my book for new teachers, but I use it myself each year and I have been teaching a long time. Teaching readers—please feel free to add any suggestions that you think may help Susan or any of us get the school year off to a great start!

Best Wishes!


A month before the term begins:

• Hit the back–to-school sales for supplies.
• Make sure you have a wardrobe that reflects your professional status.
• Order any supplies your district allows.
• Gather the other supplies you may need.
• Begin searching the Internet for information about the subjects you will teach.
• Pick up the school calendar for your school district.
• Pick up your curriculum guides.
• Pick up teachers’ editions and supplementary materials.
• Begin reading and studying the course materials.
• Create your professional goals.

Three weeks before the term begins:

• Create a course overview for the year.
• Join at least one professional organization.
• Decide on the resources you will need for each unit of study
• Create unit plans

Two weeks before the term begins:

• Create a syllabus or planner for your students.
• Make sure the equipment in your room works well.
• Brainstorm a list of classroom management solutions.
• Create your class rules and procedures.
• Put together materials in case you need a substitute.
• Put your classroom in order.
• Set up your desk and files.

The last week before the term begins:

• Obtain the school forms you will need.
• Work with a mentor to answer procedural questions.
• Be prepared for emergency drills.
• Create a daily routine for attendance.
• Write a letter to parents or guardians introducing yourself.
• Investigate the Web page site you want to use to set up your class Web Page.
• Write out your first three weeks of daily plans.
• Study your class rosters so you can be familiar with names.
• Create an alphabetical seating chart.

The day before school starts:

• Finish any last minute tasks.
• Ask any last minute questions.
• Make a final curriculum and room check.
• Exercise, eat well, and get enough rest.

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