Making it Through the First Day

The good news is you've gotten your first teaching job. The bad news is you've gotten your first teaching job and there is alot of preparation involved. Use your mentor and your association to help you complete the following activities before school starts.

Plan the drive to school.

If you plan to drive to school each morning, drive at least once to check traffic patterns, find the best route, and determine how long it will take to get to work.

Learn your way around.

Familiarize yourself with the building. Locate exits, principal's office, gym, nurse's office, cafeteria, supply room, faculty lounge, media center, and the custodian's station.

Introduce yourself.

Meet the teachers and school staff around you. They can be of real help in the first few weeks of school. Take the time to say "hello." Get to know the librarian, counselor, school nurse, cafeteria workers, and custodians.

Visit your classroom.

Set up student desks, work stations, and your own desk.

Know the rules.

Get acquainted beforehand with school policies and procedures such as opening and closing hours, attendance procedures, fire drill regulations, lunchroom procedures, etc. Set up a notebook to hold official notices, policies, and schedules.

Develop a seating chart. 

Consider traditional student seating in rows until you get to know your students. It will make your teaching life much easier.

Create lesson plans for the first week. 

Plan for twice as much material as you think you can cover in a day. This will help when the lesson you thought would take an hour only takes twenty minutes.

Decorate your room. 

Send a message that's positive and inviting. Inspirational thoughts and words of encouragement can motivate.

Develop routines and standards for the day. 

Think about how you will handle discipline, classroom interruptions, recess. Talk to your mentor for ideas.

Get your materials ready.

Make sure you have all the materials you will need for getting school underway: paper, pencils, books. Obtain blank forms such hall passes and textbook forms that will be used the first week. Find out what information should be included and how they should be used.

Develop routines for the beginning and end of class. 

Decide how you will take attendance, distribute work, and dismiss the class. Consult your mentor.

Decide how to organize information on absences, tardiness, and other student information. 

Set up a system for your grade book and/or computer.

Establish instructional activities and routines. 

Decide how much time you will spend on a particular lesson, on group work, and on individual work.

Prepare for fire drills and lockdowns. 

Develop a routine or standard for how you will manage your own paperwork. 

Think about how you'll handle deadlines, incomplete work, grading papers, extra credit, and assignment due dates.

Develop a communication system. 

Some of the most important partners in this job are parents. How will you communicate both the good and the bad news about their children to them? Decide if a newsletter, personal notes, e-mail, a website, or all of these methods can be used.

Develop a schedule and expectations for homework. 

Think about how students will get their missed assignments or make up missed work.

Get there early.

On the first morning, arrive early so you will have time to ask any last-minute questions, go over final plans and relax before the students arrive at school.

Greet your pupils.

Be in your room when the students arrive. Have your name on the chalkboard. Greet the students with a smile. Encourage them to be seated and remain so.