Whether you are a first-time teacher or an experienced educator,
there are certain things you have in common. One of those things
is the first day of school. Being prepared and ready to accept
students into your classroom is paramount in making them feel
welcomed to your classroom, and also giving you the edge to begin
the school year off on the right foot. This simple guide will
help you make sure you are ready for the first day of school.
Know Your Stuff If you have not already done so, be sure to know
your state standards for the grade level you are teaching. This
information can usually be found at the board of education website
for your state. Here you will learn about the mandatory regulations
for math, reading, and writing, as well as other subjects. If
you are a veteran teacher, you will also find any updates that
may be different than before. Summertime is the time to go over
these standards and contact your administrators with any questions
you may have.
What's Your Behavior Management Plan?
It is highly recommended that you have a written plan for what
rules will be implemented in your classroom. You should also know
how to handle difficult students who do not follow the rules.
The plan should be well thought out and look professional. Some
schools require that you turn in your plan to the administration.
Keep a copy for yourself, if you must do this. New teachers may
have to start business management plan from scratch. In this case,
don't be afraid to ask veteran teachers for their opinions. You
don't necessarily have to use everything you hear, but it gives
you a good idea of where teachers may feel the same on certain
issues. While compiling information for your behavior management
plan, contemplate these questions:
- What incentives motivate children to behave?
- How long are students in my grade expected to sit still?
- In what ways does a positive environment affect students behavior?
- When is the best time to allow children to work together;
These questions might help you tailor a behavior management plan
that works. When something isn't working, change it!
Organizing a Seating Arrangement
Consider what ways you think would work best with seating arrangements
in your classroom. Do you prefer to have the students facing you
at all times? Does a group or sitting in teams approach appeal
to you? Much of this will depend on your style of teaching. Are
you a teacher that stands at the whiteboard most of the time,
or at the front of the room, or do you like to walk around constantly
and be interactive with your students? Keep in mind that you can
try something at first, and if it isn't working out how you planned,
you can by all means do something different. Again, see what other
teachers are doing, and ask them how it is working out.
Your classroom should be a safe haven for your students. It should
be welcoming and warm. While you want the room to be structured
and make sense, it can be given a "homey" feeling by placing pillows
in a reading center (or even bean bag chairs). You can also let
the students help decorate the room, to give them a sense that
this is their room and you are their teacher, because you share
ideas with them.
Make sure you have the following things ready for the first day
- File system
- Lesson planner/grade tracker
- Substitute/Emergency Lesson Folder
- Nametags, if applicable
- List of classroom jobs
- List of classroom routines (Pledge, bathroom breaks, etc.)
Develop a homework policy that your students will understand.
Talk with them about your expectations for completing homework
assignments, and how your grading system works.
Letter to the Parents/Guardians
Devise a letter to be sent home to parents/guardians making yourself
available to answer their questions, let them know you are excited
about working with their children, and copies of your behavior
management plan, homework policy, and other pertinent information
about making the school year run efficiently. If you have a parent/student
orientation night, you can give this letter out at that time.
Record a schedule of how each day of the week will run. Go over
this schedule with your students on the first day, and post the
schedule in a place that is easy for them to see. Kids work well
with routines, and being able to see what they are doing day-to-day
will help them stay focused.