Have you ever wondered how teachers make it through the first day of school? Especially my fellow elementary teachers who deal with every emotion from joy to sheer panic at least once an hour. I know not every grade level needs the same things on that first long, joyful, emotional day back, but I think I have come up with a list that just might be useful to any teacher anywhere. Make sure you consider these 10 Things to Have on Hand for Your First Day Back as you gear up for the first day of your next school year!
1. Comfortable shoes
I put this first because it’s that important. If you’re anything like me, you have probably been barefoot or in sneakers most of the summer. Don’t think you can shove your feet into those cute stilettos on the first day back and be fine! Work up to those bad boys! Comfy can still be cute, check out my favorite pair of first-day-back shoes.
You may talk more on your first day than you did all summer. Your throat will get dry, and you will thank me for this suggestion! Now is also the perfect time to treat yourself to a new water bottle for the new year!
Nothing ever goes the way your think it will. Patience and flexibility will go a long way towards saving your sanity. I can’t tell you how many little things come up on that first day. You have two new students you didn’t plan on? Super! There’s an assembly you didn’t know was happening? Awesome! The more you can think of these as twists and turns on the roller coaster that is the first day, the more able you will be to throw your hands up and enjoy the ride! One way I keep my patience strong is by having materials prepared and ready-to-go. Having a back to school bundle definitely helps save my sanity!
4. Sense of Humor
Along the same lines as patience, having a sense of humor about your day will not only help you but your students too. They want to know that you’re human. That want to see you enjoying yourself. If the teacher isn’t having fun, no one is having fun. It’s the first day – crack some jokes, laugh at yourself, and have a great time!
Whether you’re a preschool teacher or teaching graduate students, tissues can come in handy! There is almost always someone with a cold, a cough or some tears. Tissues can also be used as napkins and paper towels in a pinch. If you are in elementary school, get the little Kleenex packs that fit in your pocket to keep handy the first few days.
6. Mints or Gum
Gums and mints not only keep your breath fresh, they also provide a sense of calm. Leave some mints in your desk drawer to share with colleagues and even your scholars.
For you, for your teammates, for your coworkers, for your admin! Toss a bag of chocolate it in the staff lounge with a sweet note. It will be gone by the end of the day, and you will have made a lot of new friends.
8. A Good Read Aloud
No matter the age, a read-aloud book is a great way to break the ice, wrap up the first class, or allow yourself to be a little silly. Remember sense of humor? Reading aloud to your class gives you a wonderful opportunity to put some of those drama skills into action! If you’re looking for a good option, try The Book With No Pictures, an early elementary favorite!
9. Extra School Supplies
You have a brand new bunch of students with brand new backgrounds, ideas, thoughts and dreams. Learn about them! Learn all about your students with engaging activities. We all know trust can’t be built in a day, but staying open and curious about your students will go a long way towards earning that trust. Bring that trust with a smile!
Hopefully you see something on this list of 10 things to have on hand for your first day back you can make a note of and carry with you as you begin a new school year. I know that each school year has started differently, but the one thing I can count on is that students want to know they’re cared for, and coworkers want to know they’re valued. This list helps me show them all exactly that!