Teaching Tips For The Best First Day Ever!
Happy Back to School Season!
I can’t believe how quickly the summer passes. It feels as if school just let out and yet here we are again, at the beginning of a new year.
As we look at the starting of school, many of you may be stepping into a classroom for the very first time.
Maybe you were previously a teaching aid, and now you have your own classroom. Or perhaps you just completed your degree and are excited about your next step. Maybe you’ve been in a different career entirely and are now teaching. Whatever the case may be, there are a lot of people who will be teaching for the first time this year.
Your first year of teaching is equal parts exciting and nerve-wracking.
First day of school jitters is real, for both new and experienced teachers.
The first day of school has the potential to either get your year off to a great start or to give you issues later on. Here are some tips for making the first day of school the perfect tone-setter for the school year.
Tips For The Best First Day Ever
Get There Early
You’ll want to be settled in your classroom before you any student walks into your door. Here are some ways to do that:
– write your name on the board
– have activities prepared
– have seating charts determined. Even though you will end up switching students, it is wise to assign seats at first. (It helps you learn students’ names.)
– test your technology beforehand! No one wants to get into their class and realize something is not connected or won’t turn on.
Meet Your Coworkers
If you haven’t already, meet and make friends with your coworkers. The people around you are the ones you will go to first with questions and concerns, so don’t be afraid to build relationships there. You should also seek out friendships with your school’s specials teachers. Having a bond opens up communication, making it simpler to discuss all the ins and outs of teaching.
Know Your Lesson Plan
What does the first day of school look like in your classroom? Make sure you know before the day begins! You want to spend your day connecting with students, not making things up on the fly.
Know the Procedures (Teacher and Student)
First year of teaching? First year at a new school? Take the time to go over the procedures of what is expected for both you as a teacher and the students. What is your school’s dress code? How does discipline work? You need to know these things right off the bat to ensure proper communication of expectations. Have a question? Ask a coworker!
Know the Layout of Your School
Make sure you’re aware of the layout of your school. Where is the cafeteria, the bathrooms? Where does your class go during a fire drill? This will help you and your students feel more comfortable.
In Your Classroom
The first day can be anxiety-causing for both students and teachers. Allow your students time to loosen up and get comfortable by doing some sort of icebreaker activity. Icebreaker activities should be enjoyable for all and get the students talking to each other and to you. I have a few icebreaker activities in my store for you to check out here.
Take a few minutes to go over the layout of your classroom. Where are the classroom supplies? Where do your students place their textbooks and homework? Having a classroom tour helps prevent questions about where things are later on.
Focus on Key Procedures
Every class your student attends on the first day of school will be going over procedures. Think about that as you plan your day. Will your students really remember how to exit the building from all 7 of their classrooms? Nope! Go over the most essential information on the first day of school, but know that you have the whole first week to ensure your students understand the procedures.
Establish Your Rules and Routines
Develop clear and concise classroom rules and an easy to understand classroom routine to go over on the first day. Many teachers have different ways of doing this. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to go about it, honestly. Perhaps consider printing out copies of classroom rules and make it a “treasure hunt.” Give students your procedures & rules, then have students work together to find answers to a list of questions about the rules.
Be sure to go over management items. This involves things like what to do when you need to use the restroom, lining up, getting the class’ attention, etc. You should also go over what happens when a rule is broken or when an expectation is not met. Having all of this clearly in front of the students will make any sort of discipline much easier for you.
Don’t spend your entire day on ice breakers, rules, and routines. Make it clear to your new students that your classroom is a place of learning by doing just that, learning! I’m not saying don’t have any fun on the first day, by all means, enjoy! But make sure your kids know that learning is the number one priority in your classroom. This could be something short, such as reading and interpreting a quotation or image.
The Students – The Thing That Matters Most
Give Every Student A Clean Slate
Last year, your students had a different teacher and a different experience. Don’t let any knowledge you have of a student’s previous year influence how you see them. Give every student the opportunity of a clean slate. With a new school year comes a fresh start.
I found that students who were often “difficult” (according to other teachers) just needed to feel connected. It is important to start establishing relationships with your students from day one. Talk with them during hall duty, recess, etc
The first day of school can be overwhelming for teachers and students. At the end of the day, the most important thing for your students to learn on the first day of school is that you are rooting for them. Rooting for them can look different at different times; sometimes, it is encouraging them, and sometimes it is disciplining them. No matter what the first day of school brings you, make sure your students know you are on their side.
Wishing you the best first day of school ever!
Do you have any first day of school rituals? I’d love to hear them! Comment below and tell me!