Back to Spanish Class: What to Prioritize before Day 1

July 18, 2017 Miss Senorita by Jessica Hall

Back to School season is already around the corner… well not in New York City where I am because school just let out 3 weeks ago, but in many other parts of the country it’s almost that time!

I’m no longer in the classroom, but I know that first week back for teachers (before the students arrive) is very hectic. There are a million things to do to get ready and you have meetings all morning, so prep time is quite limited.

Those super teachers who post (ridiculous) pictures of their classrooms (yes, I’m a hater and I’m okay with it) for Back to School are great and all… but. That takes a lot of time.

If you’re also not interested in alphabetizing your classroom library on a Saturday morning, here are my suggestions for what to prioritize when time is limited before kids come running down the halls.

what to prioritize

1.  First Focus on Lesson Plans

Do you know what you’re teaching for the first week (or month – I really love lesson planning) of school?
  • Is every PowerPoint ready to go?
  • Have you checked over your handouts for those spelling errors that embarrassed you last year?
  • Have any policies from last year changed in your head that you need to put on paper?
  • Are you sure you have every minute filled with engaging material?
  • Have you made copies? Do you have enough copies for when they give you 5 extra kids at the last second without telling you? Because you know they’ll do that.

2.  Prioritize Classroom Set-up

Are your desks still stacked on top of each other in the corner?  Kids can’t sit like that, so you’re going to need to fix that.
  • How do you want to arrange your desks?

Do you want to have the kids sit in groups? In rows? I’m personally partial to rows, but it really depends on the culture of your school and how much space you have to work with.

  • Do you have a way of marking the floors so you know exactly where each row or group will be?

Desks have a way of traveling around the room throughout the day.

(Are you allowed to mark the floors? Will the janitors wish bad things upon you if you do it?)

I’ve seen teachers make lines on the floors with sharpies (the janitors definitely wished bad things upon them) and also just put colored tape down.

  • How will you decide where students sit?
  • How will you tell students where they sit?

Or will you let them choose their seats on Day 1? *insert look of shock and horror*

I labeled the desks with a piece of tape and sharpie in a corner of each desk and then have a slide on the PowerPoint with each student’s name and desk number on it. That way they could find their desks quickly without me.

what to prioritize


And there you have it – my two recommendations for what to prioritize above all else.
If you have all your copies ready to go, your desks are set up, you have seating charts ready to go, and you still have tons of time, then by all means feel free to put posters up and color-coded chevron labels on everything and alphabetize your classroom library.
Don’t let me stop you.
I hope this is helpful in the chaos of that first week back for teachers!  For more helpful tips, keep checking back this summer for more posts in our Back to Spanish Class series.  Please feel free to comment if there are other top priorities on your mind!
jessica hall miss senorita
Miss Senorita by Jessica Hall

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  • World Language Cafe July 18, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    This blog post cracked me up and was full of great ideas. Thanks for sharing your humor!

  • mi casa es su casa July 21, 2017 at 1:34 am

    Miss senorita, thank you for getting me ready. I live in Florida and back to school is around the corner. It is my first year teaching Spanish to Kindergarten students and Spanish is not my first language…

  • Unknown August 11, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Yes, you are hilarious! If you get out so late, when do you return to school?
    thanks! great post!

  • Nancy Mendez August 11, 2021 at 5:58 pm

    Your advise on priorities for the first week are so helpful! Thanks. I want to know how to join World Language Cafe!

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