- Plan dinners for the first week back at school. - Okay, so that's kind of obvious, I know. But here's the real tip... Come up with five easy meals (Sunday through Thursday) that will also be great for leftovers the next day. Then you also have lunch for the entire first week! Getting up early for school is traumatic enough after a summer's worth of sleeping in. Having to make lunch too just adds to the pain. One of my favorite leftover meals is King Ranch Chicken. It's probably not the healthiest thing in the world but it is EASY and delicious (plus my kids like it and it's cheap.... BONUS). Here's the recipe I use: King Ranch Chicken. To make it even faster and easier, I cheat and buy a rotisserie chicken from the deli (shh...don't tell anyone).
- Put together your school "emergency kit". - What? Like for fire drills? No, that's not what I'm talking about. I keep a small tote bag in my closet full of little things I might need: aspirin, safety pins, deodorant (yeah, it's HOT down here in Florida!), mascara, mouthwash (for those really long days like Open House night), an extra house key, extra sunglasses, Tide-To-Go stain remover, and the all-important emergency chocolate bar. I usually have a pair of flip-flops in there too for when my shoes start to hurt or when I stay after school for awhile.
- Take a trip to Walmart. - Okay, I'm the first to
admitannounce that I hate Walmart. I seriously detest the place. In fact, I will happily pay 20% more just to shop somewhere else. However, there is one time I will venture into the depths of Hell-mart... back to school time. Here's why: When the kids bring in 80 packs of those super cheap pencils or several dozen paper pocket folders without prongs, Walmart will let you exchange them without a receipt (as long as they aren't Office Depot brand or something). Now, if you're anything like me, you will end up with an entire shopping cart full of unwanted supplies. So, I strongly suggest that you either call ahead or better yet, go in and talk to the manager while wearing your school badge in a prominent spot. Explain the dilemma of receiving so many unwanted supplies and how it would be so beneficial to your students to be able to exchange them for things they actually need. I've never been turned down.
- Use your phone in class. - No, do not text your husband ten times to say how you wish summer had been just a month or two longer. You know how easy it is to get off schedule the first few days of school? How many times have you been deep in discussion about reporting vs. tattling only to discover that special area started 10 minutes ago? It happens! So before the first day of school, set your phone to alert you to those transition times.
- Create new student bags. - One of the most disruptive things to an otherwise smooth school day is a new student coming in. Not that I don't like new students, but if I'm not prepared, my day goes completely off track. A good way to keep things rolling is to prepare a bunch of "new student bags". These include all of the essentials that I normally give students during the first couple days of school: homework folder, supply list, parent letter, student info sheet, folders for reading and math, desk tag, etc. When the new student arrives, I pull out a bag and everything is there. What a lifesaver!
So those are my 5 best back-to-school tips for teachers! Don't forget to stop by my TpT store for the BIG HUGE Back To School Sale on Monday and Tuesday. Everything will be 28% off including: