I know what you’re thinking. I KNOW being truly, truly prepared in the classroom is hard and quite possibly impossible.  When you have 25+ students coming to you with so many varied backgrounds that are really, completely out of your control, things are bound to come up…things you are NEVER prepared for.  And that’s teaching.  Right?  Well, I believe you can be better prepared to conquer your day.  I believe you can be ready for 90% of the stuff that happens…maybe 95%. 🙂 So hang with me because I’m hoping to share with you some ideas you can implement NOW to help you feel better prepared.  Which to me…makes me feel more confident. This is based on my experience but I would love to know MORE ideas you might have in the comments below.

Prepared in the Classroom A Modern Teacher


With some baby steps, you can implement these ideas and you’ll be waaaay closer than you’ve ever been.

In no particular order:

#1: Take pictures of your room set-up before you leave for the summer.  Take note of what worked and what didn’t work.  If you are new to teaching, take pictures of mentor teachers’ classrooms around campus.  I’m sure they would be more than happy to help.

#2: Put papers in binders. Ditch the file folders. (more on that on a different day). You can find organizational binder printables HERE.

#3: Make an emergency kit. Both for yourself and in case the electricity goes out.

#4: Have an emergency sub plans ready to go.  You never know.

#5: Know your content.  Are you teaching something you might be a little weak on?  Research it and you’ll get it.  I remember having to teach the history of our community (highlights) and since I wasn’t from this area, I didn’t really know the history.  Google is your friend. 🙂

#6: Set boundaries. This is a hard one.  This is one I probably struggle with the most because I just love my job.  But if you say you are only going to work until 5:00, then go home.  There is ALWAYS something to do.

#7: Set up everything you need for the next day before you leave school.  You might still have to take work home but choose to take everything else BUT plans for the next day.  {Including any manipulatives or consumables}

#8: Get to school 20 minutes earlier than you need to be.  OH!  This is SO tough!!!

#9: Get everything ready at home the night before.  Lunches, workout clothes, etc.

#10: Before the school year starts write every single event on your calendar. Get it all “down on paper” (or your digital one).

#11: Have a system for everything the kids might need.  From pencil sharpening to notes from home.  (more on that on a later day or you can see the resource I created for that here)

#12: Have a stash of rewards (for you and your kids)…separate from your behavior management system.  Doesn’t have to be big but sometimes you need a little *something* to congratulate a kiddo or redirect them. 🙂

#13: Have a list of all your passwords and websites.  Keep it in a place you can get to very easily.

#14: Keep a teacher snack/emergency stash.  Enough said.

#15: Keep a first aid kit in your classroom.  Either one the nurse has given you or one that you put together yourself.

#16: Declutter.  Get rid of old stuff. (more on that later too)

#17: Designate days to complete weekly to-dos  not associated with lesson plans.  For example, you know you’ll have to do newsletters every week. What day will you send them out? Other examples of things to do every week: grading, parent volunteer activities, morning meetings, read-alouds, etc.

#18: Be consistent….with grace.  If you say you are going to grade the more formal activities/assessments on Wednesday and Sunday, then just do it!  You’ve got this!  If something comes up, give yourself some Grace.  Be flexible with yourself.

#18: Delegate.  If you can.  This one is a tough one but if you have parent volunteers or other support staff that come to help every once in a while, assign them tasks. They love the structure and so will you.

#19: Create a routine for all subjects throughout the day.  Not only for the kids but also for you.  For example, if you have Guided Reading time, what will you do the minute they join you? Word Study? Listen to kids read first? Ask questions? Do you need to check on “Student A” before you begin small groups?

#20: Have a system for all the areas in your classroom that the kids will be using on a regular basis, especially the classroom library (if you are fortunate to have one).

#21: Take inventory of your mentor texts.  It doesn’t have to get fancy.  Just keep a running list…

#22: Create a “What We Did” Weekly Folder.  Create a folder for all the things you do that week.  Include master pages, finished examples, scholastic magazines… Whatever you use, take note.

Prepared in the Classroom A Modern Teacher

#23: Allow extra time in your schedule.  I know…this is pretty much impossible–but just in case.

#24: Have a link to an educational movie, read-aloud book, Mad-Libs, or stash of games and songs, in case of rain, emergency, etc.

#25: Have a set of extra clothes (and anything else that is personal to you).  Nothing fancy.  Maybe some jeans and your school shirt.  Maybe you can ask for forgiveness later if your admin doesn’t allow for jeans….shhh!  Don’t tell them I suggested it. 🙂  Emergencies do happen.

#26: Keep a mirror in your room.  Somewhere.  You just never know.

#27: Think about the big overall picture for the next month. Generally, where are you going in your lessons?  What objectives/standards/themes are they learning? As you go through the month, keep a running list in your weekly folders of what worked and what didn’t work. You need a planner for this. You can find that HERE. 🙂

#28: Set up systems for all your lesson planning to-dos. From grading to making copies…make a list of what needs to get done, how long it will take, then start plugging it into your calendar.  Hopefully, including tasks you can hand over to a parent volunteer. I’ve also created a resource to break this one down into manageable steps. You can see that here.

#29: Create a routine before and after school for yourself. Set days on when you will meet with your team (if you team plan).

#30: During the summer, set your home up for success.  Clean out closets, home improvement projects, declutter…etc.

#31: Create a monthly maintenance checklist.  I’m pleased to offer this for FREE Just click here to join “The Playground”, a newsletter filled with exclusive free printables, updates, and more!

Overwhelmed? Just go down this list and complete one thing at a time.  Cover up the other items if you need to. 🙂

And if you are looking for it all to be done for you, head HERE.  (well, almost…heehee)

What else do YOU do to feel prepared to conquer your school day?  I’d love to hear and I KNOW others will learn from you!

xo, april

HERE is the link to the Teacher Binder Bundle:

Teacher Binder