Getting off to a good start
Starting a new career, changing locations, facing the unknown can be stressful. Every teacher has gone through it. Here are some ways to beat the first day jitters and start the year off right.
• Plan the drive to school. Find the best route ahead of time. Discover what time you need to leave, so you’ll have plenty of time when you get there.
• Learn your way around your school site before classes begin. Familiarize yourself with the building. Locate exits, the main office, gym, cafeteria, work room, faculty room, media center, nurse’s office.
• Know the rules. Get acquainted with school procedures: opening and closing hours, fire drill regulations, attendance policies, lunchroom rules. Set up a notebook or folder to hold notices, policies, and schedules.
• Introduce yourself. Meet other teachers and support staff. Make some new friends.
• Make your classroom friendly for opening day. Put up photos, design a colorful bulletin board, and add a plant and personal items to your desk.
• Start with a traditional student desk arrangement until you’ve established control and know your students’ names. Keep traffic patterns in mind.
• Get your materials ready and store supplies. Make sure you have all the materials you need — paper, pencils, books, pencil sharpener, rulers, hall passes, textbooks — and go through storage and file cabinets to decide where to keep things you’ll need.
• Schedule your time and make your plans. Make a detailed schedule for the first few days, including times for each subject, breaks, lunch, restroom breaks.
• Plan twice as much material as you think you can cover. Write everything down so you have a feeling of security when you face your students for the first time.
• Map out how you will handle classroom management discipline procedures.
• Find out your school’s policies on homework, dispensing medication to students, employee e-mail and Internet use, grading, fire drills and lockdowns, field trips.
• Ask when faculty meetings are held, when back-to-school night and parent conferences are, what your additional duties are (hall, bus, lunchroom).
• Get the required grade book or software, lesson plan book or format, and forms for accidents, absences, and ordering supplies.
If you have other suggestions or tips, please add your comments below. Thank you.