Teaching Opinion

Exciting Preparations for a New School Year

By Starr Sackstein — August 26, 2018 3 min read
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A new school year is just around the corner or perhaps for you, it has begun already.

When I was younger, the beginning of a school year was my favorite. I loved shopping for school supplies and setting up my binders and then my bookbag. The excitement of gathering new pens and highlighters, imagining how and what I’d be learning was palpable.

Some students like to shop for new sneakers and school clothes, but I always preferred my new books, special pens and markers, and folders.

I wondered about my teachers and my friends and what success would look like for that year. It was truly magical. Perhaps not Hogwarts magical, but it had its own finesse that my inner geek couldn’t resist.

As an adult, that hasn’t changed too much. While I was in the classroom, by mid-August I started itching to go back. I’d start trickling back into school to set up my classroom and plan my lessons for the first few months of school. Nothing better than opening a new plan book with a sharpened pencil, reviewing the new syllabus I provided my students and starting to visualize the first day.

What would I do to engage and excite the kids so they wanted to come back the second day?

As a soon to be second-year leader, much the same is going through my mind. How will the relationships I cultivated last year, blossom this year and how can we work together to make an even more cohesion learning experience for our kids?

Although I don’t have my own classroom to set up, I wanted to redesign the department office to make it more inviting and comfortable for the team to come and work together.

Instead of a plan book, I have a calendar and a to-do list that will help inform the first month of school. This upcoming week we have preplanning meetings and administrative check-ins. I’ll eagerly listen and participate so that I can make sure our team gets what it needs.

This year one of my earliest goals is to make sure I meet with each member of the team, whether they are officially on my goal setting list or not, and discuss the departmental goals as well as their own and figure out a strategy for supporting each of them accordingly. This will be my formative data for how I plan classroom visits and potential class push-in experiences.

One the goals our team voted on last year was to implement more project-based learning with technology, so I will make myself available to teachers who want me to come in and model or demonstrate how to use some technology or help them design a project. Last year, I went into classes to help teachers teach students how to design rubrics and determine success criteria, I’d like to build on that this year and hopefully get more teachers away from unnecessary testing.

Additionally, I’d like to work harder at building better, more trusting relationships with my colleagues on the administrative team. I’d love to get into classrooms together again and start aligning expectations as a team, so teachers know what they are getting from each of us and make sure that those expectations aren’t too dissimilar.

With new members of our administrative team, I want to be helpful and engaging as I know how it feels to be where they are. Building these relationships will be key to our collective success.

So as summer starts to cool down and the number of days dwindles until the students and teachers first arrive, I eagerly set up my desk at home and at work with my fresh new highlighters and notebooks and start making my lists and sending my emails.

This year is going to be great, I can feel it, as there will be many new adventures on the horizon.

How do you prepare for a new school year to ensure early success? Please share

*Photo by Starr Sackstein

The opinions expressed in Work in Progress are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.