From packing healthy lunches to preparing great lesson plans, getting back to school takes a lot of coordination. You can set the tone for your home and school life this year by checking important action items off your list, instilling some healthful habits and setting smart boundaries. You’ll walk onto campus feeling confident and relaxed, knowing you’re well-prepared for what lies ahead.
Here are four steps you can take now to set yourself up for a successful school year:
1. Gather fresh ideas to try out at school
As you get yourself ready for a new batch of students, you may be assessing what worked well last year and what you’d like to improve this year. Whether you’re a new educator or you have decades of experience, discovering new and better ways of doing things encourages continual improvement, productivity and harmony.
These professional tips can help you organize and optimize your school days:
- How to Conquer Common Back-to-School Stressors
- Classroom Management Tips to Start the School Year Strong
- Ideas for a Productive Back-to-School Night
- What I Wish I Had Known: Advice for First-time Educators
- 5 Things Your Students Need to Hear You Say
- Clever Hacks to Make the School Day Easier
- What’s Your Classroom Organizational Style?
- 8 Tips for Managing Stress at School
- Tips for Effective Online Parent Communication
- 8 Things Your Substitute Teacher Needs to Succeed
- Are You Prepared for a School Crisis?
2. Stock up on supplies—for yourself, your family and your classroom
School budgets often are tight, so many teachers dig into their own wallets to pay for the classroom supplies and decorations they need to create a welcoming, productive learning environment and to support their lesson plans. Teachers spend an average of about $500 on classroom supplies each year, but of course many teachers spend a lot more than that!
In addition, many teachers also are getting their own children ready to go back to school. From new outfits and backpacks to new classroom supplies, you need to stretch your budget to afford everything everyone in your household will need.
Try these back-to-school shopping tips to save time and money:
- How to Get Rewarded for Your Back-to-School Shopping
- 9 Ways to Stretch Your Back-to-School Budget
- Tips for Using Crowdfunding to Restock Your Classroom
- Stretch Your Supply Budget: 6 Tips from Classroom Educators
- How to Stretch Your Back-to-School Wardrobe Budget
- Don’t Miss These Top Offers for Education Professionals
- You can save time and money by shopping online for the back-to-school supplies you need at a variety of retailers through NEA Click & Save
- The NEA Cash Rewards Card offers customizable cash-back rewards, so you could maximize your rewards if you buy back-to-school classroom supplies, clothing, backpacks and more online, including via NEA Click & Save
- Sign up for a new Costco membership to buy back-to-school clothing, supplies and more in bulk and save
- Sign up for our free NEA Member Shoppers Guide newsletter to get special deals delivered to your inbox each month
3. Focus on your own well-being
Being an education professional is rewarding, but it also can be stressful. Standing all day, scarfing down lunch between classes and working long hours all can take their toll on your physical and even mental health.
Act now to create some new good habits that will support the demands you’re placing on your body throughout the school year. By prioritizing your own health, you’ll have enough gas in your tank to support your students and your family, too.
These wellness tips can help you focus on yourself:
- 4 Ways to Reduce Pain from Standing All Day
- Reset Your Internal Clock
- 7 Work-Life Balance Tips for Educators
- How Busy Educators Are Fitting in Fitness
- Top Tips for Healthy Working Lunches
- 5 Ways to Protect Your Voice in the Classroom
- How to Prevent Hearing Loss From Classroom Noise
- Should You Say ‘Yes’ to That Extracurricular Activity?
- 7 Habits of a Healthy Educator
- Save up to 50% on high-tech hearing aids for yourself and your adult family members through the NEA Hearing Aid Program
- Find affordable, comprehensive dental and vision coverage with the NEA Dental and Vision Insurance Program
Carve out a bit of time before the school year kicks into full swing to give your finances a once-over. You can create and adhere to an everyday budget as well as review your long-term financial goals to determine whether you need to bump up your regular retirement savings allocation during open enrollment, shore up your emergency savings account, adjust your student debt repayment options, increase or reduce your insurance coverage based on any recent changes in your life, and more.
These finance tips and tools can help get started:
- QUIZ: Are You Financially Fit?
- Do You Need a Back-to-School Fiscal Checkup?
- 3 Financial Documents to Review as the School Year Starts
- 6 Simple Steps to Build a Stress-Free Budget
- How to Reduce Your Monthly Bills
- Prepare Now for These 6 Common Emergency Expenses
- How Educators Can Find Student Loan Debt Relief
- Why You May Need to Rethink Your Insurance Policies
BONUS: Related financial wellness benefits for NEA members
- Build your emergency fund with an NEA Online Savings Account, provided by Discover Bank, Member FDIC
- Get a quote from the NEA Auto & Home Insurance Program to see if you can save on your auto insurance bill
- Run your numbers through the NEA Student Loan Forgiveness Navigator powered by Savi to see if you’re eligible to reduce or eliminate your student loan debt
- Get a realistic look at your future with the NEA Retirement Income Calculator, which includes your state pension data
- Both traditional and Roth IRA accounts are available through the NEA Retirement Program
- Choose from several affordable life insurance and accident coverage options to help protect yourself and your family from financial hardship
- Protecting your paycheck through the NEA Income Protection Plan is especially important for newer educators who haven’t accrued much sick leave yet