The new semester is starting soon, and for freshly hired teachers, this means that it’s time to get everything ready before the storm hits. Not only will you be starting that first day without knowing the kids in your class, but you’ll be getting used to a new classroom space, building, and school culture. Whether you’re a seasoned teacher or just out of school yourself, these tips may help you to get ready for starting a new position halfway through the year.
5 Priority Tasks Before Your First Day
There are a few things you can try and do before your first day. It might not take away all the stress and anxiety, bit it may help you to hit the ground running.
1. Reach Out to Team Members
It may not be possible, depending on how much time is left before the semester begins, to have long informational conversations with your co-teachers and team members. However, reaching out over email or scheduling a short conversation over the phone could help you to get your most important questions answered before the first day.
Being aware that your fellow educators and administrators may be looking forward to winter break is important. You won’t want to bombard them with questions and requests, but consider making a short list of the most important questions and sending them along with well wishes.
2. Try to Get In Early If You Can
If you have the opportunity to get into the building and your classroom space early, take advantage of it. Explore the building. Get a feel for where the bathrooms are, where the basic supplies are stored, and where the copier/lamination machines are kept.
Grab any available information on school rules, emergency procedures, library information, etc. to use when briefing yourself for the start of a new semester.
Also try and cover the bare essentials of classroom preparation if you have the chance. Some of your basic must-do’s should include making a place for students to turn in papers, a location for the daily schedule and date, collecting basic supplies for your desk and the whiteboard, and getting a basic understanding of your classroom’s technology.
3. Prepare Some Low-Stress Icebreakers & Lesson Plans
Because those first few days are going to be full of changes and adjustments, it’s a good idea to have a few low-preparation lesson plans and classroom activities at the ready. Your students will enjoy a few opportunities to learn more about you, and simple ice breakers and “get-to-know-you” games will help you to learn names.
During the first few days, put an emphasis on engagement and reinforce your classroom behavior expectations throughout all the activities. You want to create a space where students enjoy participating, but aren’t using your new-ness to get away with negative behaviors.
Gather Any of Your Must-Haves
There are must-haves that every teacher should keep on hand, but you’ll want to consider some things you won’t want to live without during a stressful and overwhelming first week. Gather things like your favorite tea, a spare mug or thermos, your favorite gum or snack, etc. If small items will make your days just a little brighter, bring them along and keep them at the ready.
Make a To-Do List for Month 1
Once you’ve done what you can to prepare for the week BEFORE it starts, make a list of all the things you want to get done during your first month at the school. This list shouldn’t overwhelm you, but instead give you traction and a place to go whenever you find your mind or hands free.
Check out this very comprehensive New Teacher Checklist to gather inspiration.
More New Teacher Tips & Inspiration
Regardless of your age and experience, starting a new teaching job with a new group of students is both exciting and stressful. Try not to expect too much of yourself, and try not to put too much pressure on yourself to perform at the same level as your team members. Give yourself time to adjust and your students room to help you discover what will help them to learn their best.
For more inspiration and ideas, visit the category pages of the blog and find more lesson plans, activities, and encouragement for teachers.