5 Things All Teachers Should Do Before Going Home

One of the worst feelings as a teacher is that feeling of being unprepared. And that feeling is even worse when you're hectically running around before school starts, trying to get everything ready for the day. So a few years ago, I made myself a list on a sticky note of things to do before I leave for the day and stuck it on my computer screen. It really helped to focus my efforts after school was over (so that I don't waste 15 minutes catching up on Facebook...), as well as helped me be better prepared for the next day.
One of the worst feelings as a teacher is that feeling of being unprepared. Check out this list of 5 things you can do before you go home each night, so that you can be more prepared when you start the next day.
Here are five things I do every night before I leave school:

1. Change Your Boards

Nothing makes me happier at the end of the day to erase the day's date and write tomorrow's date on the board! On my front board, I also list the tasks my students complete each morning and display our daily schedule. On the side board, I list our learning objectives for each subject.
One of the worst feelings as a teacher is that feeling of being unprepared. Check out this list of 5 things you can do before you go home each night, so that you can be more prepared when you start the next day.

2. Write Your Morning Message

My class holds a morning meeting every day, and one of the components is to write the class a message for the day. I'm embarrassed to admit I have frantically written this message while my students were completing their morning work, just a few minutes before morning meeting starts. So now, I make sure I write my morning message for the next day before I go home. That way, I make sure to include everything I want to say AND it's legible!
One of the worst feelings as a teacher is that feeling of being unprepared. Check out this list of 5 things you can do before you go home each night, so that you can be more prepared when you start the next day.

3. Stuff Mailboxes

Have you ever realized 10 minutes before dismissal that you forgot to put the math homework in mailboxes, and then frantically try to stuff mailboxes AND dismiss your class? I have. More times than I care to say... So every night before I go home, I stuff mailboxes: papers I'm passing back, homework, notes from the office, etc. I keep a tray on top of my mailboxes where I put the papers so that I'm not wandering around my classroom, trying to remember where I put that stack of papers...
One of the worst feelings as a teacher is that feeling of being unprepared. Check out this list of 5 things you can do before you go home each night, so that you can be more prepared when you start the next day.

4. Answer/Write Emails

I hate notifications, and I am not one of those teachers that lets 2,491 unread emails pile up in my inbox. So I always take a few minutes to respond and write to parents, admin, and other teachers before I leave.

5. Clean Off Your Desk

I don't claim to be Miss Organization whatsoever, but I do straighten up my teacher table a bit before I go home.

One of the worst feelings as a teacher is that feeling of being unprepared. Check out this list of 5 things you can do before you go home each night, so that you can be more prepared when you start the next day.For some reason, I always find 187 pens/pencils/markers and 12 pairs of scissors on my teacher table, among MANY other things. This was all the JUNK I found on my table today...
One of the worst feelings as a teacher is that feeling of being unprepared. Check out this list of 5 things you can do before you go home each night, so that you can be more prepared when you start the next day.
My teacher space isn't spotless; I still have my stacks of papers and books, but at least I have a clean spot to work the next day.

Depending on how organized you are, you could even take this a step further. A teacher friend of mine leaves her desk every single night with everything a sub would need in the event one of her kids gets sick and she has to call in. Now that is NOT me AT ALL, but maybe it would work for you!

In all, it takes me about 20-30 minutes to do all of these things (depending on how many emails I have to write!). But it saves me a huge amount of stress when I come in the next morning, especially on Mondays. And it allows me to settle in when I arrive and not run around like a crazy person.

What else would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments!


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One of the worst feelings as a teacher is that feeling of being unprepared. Check out this list of 5 things you can do before you go home each night, so that you can be more prepared when you start the next day.

15 comments

  1. Thanks for these ideas. As a retired teacher/sub I appreciate being able to walk into a classroom that is "ready" for me!

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  2. Great tips! I'm getting ready to start student teaching, and I'm looking for all the help I can get :)

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    1. Good luck in your student teaching! I'm a new teacher who was fortunate to take over the class I student taught. My teacher retired. Best of luck! You're doing the right thing by doing your research. :)

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  3. Love your ideas... as a teacher we need to copy ideas from those who have more experience. Your helping me to be more effective when I start teaching. Thank you!

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  4. I would add making photo copies of anything needed for the next day, unless you try to make all your copies for the week, all at once.

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    1. Oh yes! That's a good one!! My district has a copy center, so I don't have to do this anymore, but I did at my old school :)

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  5. These are awesome ideas. I am going to try these things in order to help me feel less crazy in the morning times.

    I get my absentee slip ready for next day and daily fix it sentence written on the board.

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  6. So do you actually put all those random things away? That is where I get in trouble. I sweep them into a drawer or bin and they accumulate!!!! HELP!

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    1. The pens, pencils, and other things I can put away within arms reach, yes. The rest I leave in a pile on my table and get a student to do it for me in the morning. They always love helping 😊

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  7. Thank you. It is always great to hear how normal we all are when the "crazy" comes out 39minutes before srudwnrs arrive at school! This is a great check list for all teachers. Great also for those who share a class.

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  8. Very very organized teachers make classes so easy too. If the teacher is distracted so is the class. Same thing with Tutoring.

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  9. I totally agree. I pretty much have the same routine and it makes my mornings so much easier!

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  10. I just want to thank you for sharing this.

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  11. I try and clean up daily as well. Also stole another idea from Pinterest and created a sub tub for a day I might have to be out. I put in a generic lesson, with all the materials, class list, ìmportant information, my buddy teacher knows where it is and could add a few things to it as directed if necessary. It has came in handy a few times and makes set up a breeze.

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  12. Love these ideas. I have done most of these but have slipped a little this year. I have started leaving plans for a sub for 'just in case'. I actually just have a bin for each day so I just refill the bin for what I use on those days and write it in my day plans for the next week. My other tip if I am not that organized is put everything on my desk and take a picture of it. Then if I do need to call in, I know what is on my desk and can write the plans up from home and email them in.

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