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It’s that time of year when classroom setup is on every teacher’s mind.

While we might be looking forward to the finished effect, and we can’t wait for our students to make use of all the effort we put in, step one can often be the most stressful. Getting a plan together, knowing what you want to do, and sticking to a tight budget aren’t fun for most – but once it’s done, it’s more than worth the results.

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Want to know how to cope with classroom setup stress?

As a teacher and all-around expert, The Lettered Classroom says an organization can make all the difference. Stage one to getting your brain into order is thinking about exactly what your setup needs to provide to your students. In general, your classroom should:

  • Provide all the educational tools your students need to learn
  • Meet the standards and requirements of the curriculum
  • Fit in with your teaching style and choice of classroom aesthetic
  • Be fun to look at and enjoyable for your students to use

Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? But with some foresight, a little planning, and a lot of thinking outside the box, you can transform those pre-classroom jitters into first-day excitement. Here are just a few tips to help stop the stress from getting to you when it comes to setting up your classroom:

Plan where everything is going to go

If you already have access to your classroom, or it’s the same as in previous years, get those measurements and draw up a plan. From there, you can figure out where everything will go and how it will fit. Nothing is quite as frustrating as investing hard-earned cash in furniture for your classroom that doesn’t fit in the space. According to Thoughtco, desks and similar furniture are the best places to start, especially if cooperative learning is vital to your classroom.

Do your research

While your first thought might be to go crazy in Target, IKEA, or your nearest craft store, sitting back and doing some research can yield far better results. Not only can some time spent online help you find better prices, but sometimes you can even find second-hand pieces perfect for your classroom. Instead of rushing at the last minute, spend some time on Pinterest or checking out other setups on YouTube for some serious inspiration that won’t break the bank. Make your students even more excited to be in your class once the term starts.

Know your budget

We already know that teachers are never going to be millionaires. But with more and more educators having to fund their classroom setups, knowing how to pinch the pennies is vital. Doing your research is one way to save cash, but formally writing out your budget can help too. The unknown can cause stress – and blowing $100 that you don’t know if you can afford on classroom bits is a surefire way to feel a lot more anxious. Make a clear budget, stick to it, and do your best. It’s all you can do.

Decide what’s a must and what’s a want

We all want our classroom setup to look great and perfectly functional. But those multi-colored teaching accessories are twice the cost of the plain ones. Often, as we do with any shopping, we let our emotions lead when it comes to classroom purchases. First, think about what’s necessary for the classroom, and then work down to what you want. Making a priority list can be a great way to implement this, making you feel less guilty for missing out on the things you don’t need.

How do you reduce stress when it comes to setting up your classroom?