5 Things I Do On Teacher Workdays to Get Ready for the New School Year

This year, we have a week of no-student days before the official first day of school. Of course some of that time is spent in staff meetings and trainings, but for the days when we have prep time, I like to have a short, focused to-do list to help myself feel more prepared. Otherwise, I’m stuck thinking, “What do I even do here again?!” These 5 counselor back to school prep tasks help me feel prepared when students arrive on campus and free up time for more direct interactions with kids!

Wondering what to do for counselor back to school prep on teacher workdays? These are the 5 things I focus on.

Counselor Back to School Prep

1 – Calendar

I fill in my calendar (with pencil) as much as possible. I of course fill in holidays/days off, but I try to get my tier 1 lessons on the books ahead of time. This week, I got my lessons scheduled through winter break, but I usually just aim to schedule the first month or so to have my footing.

2 – Caseload

I also dedicate some time to talking with teachers about students from my caseload who are coming into their classes. This isn’t a “watch out” conversation, but it is a great time for me to fill them in on skills we were working on at the end of the year, successful motivators, and the kids’ best qualities.

3 – Lesson Prep

As much as possible, I try to get materials prepped for my lessons during the first month of school. Even if I’m just making a Google Doc lesson plan with link to everything I’m using, I already feel way ahead of the game going into the first month. I teach in a 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off rotation (I see grades 1-3 for 2 weeks and then I see grades K, 4-6 for 2 weeks). So I end up prepping 2 lessons for every grade level. You can take a peek at my curriculum map here (just keep in mind – there’s no one-size-fits-all! This is just what works for my students and me).

Wondering what to do for counselor back to school prep on teacher workdays? These are the 5 things I focus on.

4 – Restock

I have supplies I use with groups and individuals, so I try to restock these before the year starts. I have small buckets with individual sets of crayons, markers, a pencil, a gluestick, scissors, and a couple of clothespins that I use for small groups. I make sure each bucket has everything so I’m all set. I also purge/restock office supplies with simple tasks like making sure my dry erase markers still work and toss the ones that don’t.

5 – Welcome

I also like to prep a small little welcome note for new students. I just print a simple postcard and tape a pencil to it to have on their desks when they arrive on day 1. I make a point to introduce myself in the first couple of days, but I like to just have a note waiting for them. I used a Canva template, and you can make a copy of it here to edit for yourself.

Wondering what to do for counselor back to school prep on teacher workdays? These are the 5 things I focus on.

Find more tips for counselor back to school prep here:

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