Anna Hay is one of hundreds of Rotorua teachers writing lesson plans, decorating classrooms and topping up stationery bins in preparation for the back to school rush.
The Year 7 teacher at Mokoia Intermediate School said the new year was a busy time for teachers who had to have everything organised by the time school officially started.
"I love seeing the mix of students in my class and coming up with ways to get to know everybody.
"There's a lot teachers need to sort out before school starts but I don't really mind it."
She said the perception that teachers got a lot of free time and holidays needed to change.
"It's definitely not like that at all.
"People think we are really lucky because they have this idea that we are only working when we are in the classroom.
"In reality, most teachers work well into the night, often sacrificing time with their own families.
"Just after Christmas I started thinking about what needed to be done for the new school year and started working on class plans on January 1.
"I've gone into school a couple of times this week and will probably be in a couple more before school starts but most of the stuff I can do at home.
"I actually love decorating the classroom and turning it into a space where children want to come and learn. I think a lot of teachers are creative people and enjoy that aspect of preparing for a new school year."
Mrs Hay said buying items to decorate the class and having extra stationery for students to use came out of her own pocket.
"I do spend quite a bit getting my classroom pupil-ready but there are ways to cut down the costs like recycling items from the year before and coming up with ways to upcycle furniture."
Mrs Hay said her favourite part of starting a new school year was getting to know her class and reconnecting with her colleagues.
"I love the team of teachers I work with so it will be great seeing them all again as well as getting to know my new class and seeing how my students from last year are doing."