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Back to School 2023: 8-Point Checklist for Teachers

With the new academic year upon us, here is an 8-point back to school checklist for teachers to start off the year right!
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The end of a school year means crunch time. There are of course the term 4 assemblies, celebrations, and events, but that’s not all —schools are already looking to the first day of school in 2023, necessitating a load of back to school preparation. 

Especially for teachers that are new to the profession, preparing properly for the new year can bring a sense of control and confidence, allowing them to start the first term off on the right foot. To that end, we’ve compiled a short teacher checklist for classroom organisation that we hope you find helpful!  

Back to School Classroom Organisation

Why is classroom organisation important? In short, it affects all areas of your teaching. On a practical level, good organisation makes you more efficient and productive, but then there are other less straightforward aspects. Organisation can be an effective component of managing behaviour, giving students a feeling of ownership, bringing calm to those with anxiety issues, and so on. Here are some of the main aspects of preparing your classroom that make for solid back-to-school preparation.

Create a classroom calendar

Films about teaching and schools, combined with the boundless enthusiasm around teaching that is instilled in pre-service teachers at university, gives the impression that you have to be a true maverick, ensuring no two days are the same while putting your winning personality centre stage. In reality, children, especially those in primary school, like routine. 

There is room to be creative and interesting within the bounds of a plan, providing you with a solid framework to do some good teaching, and decreasing feelings of uncertainty for the pupils in your care. Setting up a classroom calendar is a way to make sure that everyone is on the same page, and can even be a collaborative effort set up between the students and teacher.

Bring in cleaning and hygiene supplies

A clean classroom is essential, not just in terms of promoting hygiene, but in ensuring that students feel that their learning environment is cared for and respected. While cleaners often take care of the bigger things, wiping down the window sills and making sure that all desks are dirt free will fall to you after the 6-week build-up of dust. Remember, cleaning and hygiene supplies bought for your classroom are classified as a work expense and are tax deductible.

Ensure you have enough quality stationery

Nothing is more frustrating than testing markers that are running out of ink or scrambling for stationery for students mid-class. Having enough supplies and accessories is crucial to a lesson that flows smoothly, which is why you should ensure you are well equipped with everything you need to start teaching.

Prepare packs for the first day

It is unlikely you will start diving into the curriculum first day, but neither do you want to be just playing games or killing time. Instead, you will be getting to know your class and allowing them to be comfortable in their new learning environment. Preparing a pack with a few activities allows students to go ahead with some structured work while giving you the space to monitor how your cohort works, have little chats with each student, and make any early adjustments to the seating plan as required.

Decorate your room

While decorating sounds like something only the early-stage teachers should concern themselves with, conducting lessons in a room with a prison aesthetic is unlikely to inspire much enthusiasm. You don’t need to spend days, but can simply put up a few interesting or educational posters. Especially for students in primary/early high school, you can set tasks to create interesting visuals which can be put around the room. Not only will it inject some colour, but give students a feeling of ownership over their learning space.

Give thought to seating

Whether you choose fixed seating or allow students to sit where they like, the way you arrange your seats and tables can have an effect on the way students work. If it’s a difficult task, straightforward rows with two to a desk may be the best option. If you want to encourage a more collaborative and flexible space, you may organize desks into groups or even give thought to incorporating other forms of seating, such as ottomans or stools.

Set up a filing system

Teachers are working in a hybrid environment, where they need to organise paper documentation while setting up systems for distributing and collecting work completed online. While you may have boxes or trays to store permission slips and other documentation, setting up a cloud-based environment with folders for each student with master access ahead of time will mean you are not scrambling to locate completed tasks.

Check your first-aid kit

By the first day of the school year, you will have completed your mandatory first-aid training; however, you will also need to make sure that you have a first- aid kit with everything you need in the event of an emergency. Best practice is to get a list from your school of what you should have, and then check against what is actually in your classroom, requesting any missing items ahead of time.

2023 Back to School Dates Australia

The first day back in 2023 varies depending on the state and territory you are in. Here is the complete list*:

New South Wales Eastern Division 

Friday 27 January 

New South Wales Western Division 

Friday 3 February 


Monday 30 January 

South Australia 

Monday 30 January 


Monday 23 January 

Western Australia 

Wednesday 1 February 

Australian Capital Territory 

Friday 27 January 

Northern Territory Urban Schools 

Monday 31 January 

Northern Territory Remote Schools 

Tuesday 1 February 

*Please check with your individual school as start dates can vary between the public and private sectors. 

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