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Whether it’s the start of a new school year or the start of a new semester, I know many teachers are like me in wanting to feel as organized as possible for day one. So how do you do it? Well, for me it all starts with my start up the year checklist.
Welcome to the PE Express podcast. Two to three times a week a PE expert will share a tip, activity idea, or teaching strategy to help you become a better PE professional. Today’s host is Jessica Shawley, a national board certified teacher leader from Idaho and a Shape America national teacher of the year.
Having a start of the year checklist as my guide for the beginning of any new school year or even the new semester, it’s been really helpful for me. Not only do I find it helpful for me personally to help prepare myself or my classroom and my students, but I found it extremely helpful as a guide for when I was serving as department chair to help lead the entire team. I feel it’s important to be as organized as you can and everyone’s going to have a different level of organization. And so being as organized as you can, being proactive rather than reactive to the tasks that we all know are coming our way really helps us so that we are ready to focus on the kids on day one. We’ve got to get some of these background tasks complete and having a checklist really serves as my guide.
I get distracted really easily at the start of the year. I’m excited to catch up with my colleagues to hear about their summers and yet I need to use my teacher work days as efficiently as I can to really get ready for day one. So how do I strike that balance? How do I maintain my focus? Well, I use my start of the year checklist. So what I did was I started to create the checklist electronically. Every year I have notepads that build up and sticky notes that build up and I know those things are going to come. But as I recognize that these are tasks that I’m going to have to do every year, they went on my electronic copy of my checklists. I then divided the tasks up into different categories, whether it fell under rosters, forms, signs and copies that need to be made or whether it fell under the category of the locker room by office and getting presentations ready and communications ready with parents and then also getting my technology ready.
And then department planning and curriculum planning. So there’s different categories that all the tasks fell under. And then if needed, I could prioritize the must do’s within each of those categories overall and as a department team, we can look at those tasks and delegate to each other. We could divide and conquer those tasks so that we can work more efficiently. So it’s also really nice if you’re working with a teacher team to use this checklist as a way to help each other get your own personal teacher tasks done. And also those department tasks that need to be done so you can work together as a team. Make sure to reflect and modify upon the checklist each year, so I print the hard copy, I’m scratching things off as they get done. I’m writing down notes and things that need to be modified or added on the list and then I’m making those changes on the electronic copy.
Now that electronic copy, I am sure to put in an electronic folder where I can access it every year. In fact, I like to just call it my start of the year folder and in there my rosters, my syllabi, my policies, my family nights stuff, all those start at the your tasks kind of go in there first and foremost and then I have this checklist that I can pull up right away and get started with from there and then I can share it with my department team as well. Lastly, if you want to see and download a template for yourself, I’ve actually written and posted a blog on the Gopher Sport website titled “Back to School PE Teacher Checklist”, and there you’ll find a link to the checklist template.