Teachers Are Sharing Their Favorite Ways To Amp Themselves Up for a New School Year

Teachers’ traditions and tricks that will get you from “Noooo” to “Let’s goooo!”

Paired photos of ways teachers get excited for back to school

As much as we may want to deny it, the start of the school year is quickly approaching. 🤩 😵‍💫

Everyone needs a little support in getting themselves hyped up to start the new year, so we polled our Facebook group for their best back-to-school advice. We asked for their rituals, practices, playlists, and night-before-first-day-of-school traditions, and they delivered!

Some are heartwarming, others are practical, and a few are downright hilarious. Whatever your back-to-school vibe is, there’s sure to be something on this list for you. Are you ready to get excited?! 

Let movies do the hyping 🍿

“I go for a walk in the park the night before the first day and listen to the soundtrack from The Greatest Showman. The lyrics really resonate with me because sometimes it does feel like I’m running a circus … but it really is ‘the greatest show’ and ‘everything [I] ever want’.”

—Ashley M.


“I watch a couple of great teacher movies like Freedom Writers, Mr. Holland’s Opus, or To Sir With Love in the days leading up to the new school year. They are good for a cathartic crying session, and they also inspire me to be my best for the kids.”

—Heather P.

“I watch To Sir With Love!” 

—Jo Ann M.

“When setting up my classroom, I put on Lizzie McGuire on Disney+. I’m not sure why, but it’s become my must-do.” 

—Jessica N.

“We always watch Billy Madison and School of Rock!” 

—Heather O.

Treat yourself 🍣

“So I do this thing I call ‘transition treats,’ and the whole first week that school starts, I buy myself little goodies I don’t normally get. Things like sushi, cute Post-it notes, good chocolate, coffee 2 days during the week instead of 1, etc. Just a few little positive incentives to get myself out of bed and into productive mode.”

—Taylor H.

“I round up my teacher friends at the end of summer for our annual Back to Sc-ushi—a night out at a really yummy sushi place in our city. We catch up on our summers, eat good food, and remind ourselves how lucky we are to head into another year together.”

—Kelly A.

The students 🥹

“I open up the folder of thank-you notes I’ve gotten over the years and read them.”

—Kristina F.

“I go back a few days early to assist with ninth grade orientation. Seeing their excitement gets me in the mood.”

—Crystal S.

“I ask former students to help me set up my room each year. I love to hear what they are up to and hear them share stories with each other. Reminds me of why I do what I do.”

—Allison V.

“I am usually ‘depressed’ until I see my class list on the computer with those bright, shining faces. They melt me every time, and I am suddenly ready to go back to school. …”

—Wanda W-A

Checking off the back-to-school to-do list ✅

“I make lists of things I need to do. Then I rewrite the lists to prioritize what has to be done before meeting families at Open House. When I get to my class(room) the first day of work, I write it on the board, and as I finish a task, I cross it off. Being able to see all the things I’ve finished is really motivating.”

—Melissa W.

“I buy a few new picture books I’m excited to share with students!! It’s hard to dread anything that involves books I love.”

—Katie M.

“I was always excited to set up my room for the new year. Loved to make it pretty and inviting for my 5th graders. Lots of work but fun! I wanted to be in a pretty, well organized space too.”

—Marcy N.

“I work from home so putting my office into order and getting it all set up is how I get ready. I moved some furniture around in it yesterday and am going to have to decide what stays and what goes over the next week or so.”

—Laura S.

“My coworkers and I set up our new calendars with fun pens, washi tape, and stickers!!!” 

—Alaina R.

“I’m retired now but when I did teach, I would make sure my house was organized, cleaned, and fresh. I would also clean my vehicle well so it would be ready to go. Organize my teaching wardrobe, shoes, etc. Lastly I would shop for new supplies to brighten up my classroom. Little steps.” 

—Diane C-T

For others, it’s stepping away from back-to-school prep 🙅‍♀️

“My husband and I (both teachers) try to plan a little overnight getaway the weekend before our contract officially starts. It gives us a chance to enjoy summer break to the very end and have some great memories as we go back.”

—Tamara M.

“I take a sabbatical week every August, usually a couple of weeks before school starts. I give myself rest physically and emotionally by turning my phone off, reading, napping, getting a massage, walks, coffee on my patio, art, meeting up with dear friends. This is my 3rd year into this practice and it has helped me begin the year in the right state of mind.”

—Beth F.

Taking inspiration from anywhere 🌏

“Taking a continuing education class online that changes and improves my teaching after 20 years. Motivated and passionate about the coming year!!”

—Cindy A.

“I just get excited every year, lol. Usually what really gets me ready is when we are on a trip or at a museum or something and an idea comes for a lesson, then I run with it and there we go!”

—Amanda G

“I listen to this (‘Every Kid Needs a Champion,’ a TED Talk by Rita Pierson) every year. I love her and wish that I could’ve met her in person.”

—Pam L.

And if nothing else works …

“I cry and buy lottery tickets.” 

—Vicki L

“I make up really silly cheers about going back to school and perform them around my house, complete with cheer moves. 😂 I just realized how unhinged this sounds as I type it out … but it works!”

—Jenna K.

“I have a countdown clock on my phone, ticking away until the day I can retire. I just look at it every now and then. …”

—Genevra M

P.S. Still not ready to leave summer behind? Here are some ways to extend that sacred summer vibe.

How do you get ready to go back to school? Let us know in the comments!

Plus, for more articles like this, be sure to subscribe to our newsletters.

Getting excited for back-to-school is not for the faint of heart. Take inspiration from these teachers' time-honored traditions!