Summer is officially over for me! I have been working like crazy to get my room ready (pictures coming soon!) and I am almost ready to meet my new batch of first graders. Whether you are a new teacher or a veteran teacher, I think you oughta know about a few ways to survive the first day of school…
Let me begin by saying that I am NOT a teaching guru! I don’t know everything that there is to know about teaching, but I have done a few things over my 5 years of teaching that have really helped me conquer the first day.
1. Create a first day script or an agenda/list: I got this idea from a Harry Wong workshop that I attended while student teaching. I have created one every year since I started teaching. The script is similar to a script that an actor reads. It contains everything you are going to say and do the first day. As a first year teacher, I was super nervous and I wanted to make sure all of my thoughts were together. I typed up my script and referenced it throughout the day. Each year my script turns into more of a bulleted list, but it is still helpful to reference. The picture above shows my agenda that I’m working on for the first day of school next week. Do you use something similar?
2. Have something for your students to do when they walk in: I don’t know about your previous first days of school but mine are hectic in the morning. Students come early, students come on time, student come late. Students show up who weren’t on your original roster. You have to hug a few parents and students to calm them down. The office needs this and that. I have found that having something on my students’ desks for them to do when they walk in works very well. Usually I put together a packet that contains handwriting practice, letter practice, counting practice,and I also include a few coloring pages. I’m still working on it, but the picture above is my cover page. Why is this helpful? When chaos ensues and you are trying to use your two hands to handle a million tasks early that morning, you will want something that will keep your kiddos busy at their seats. While they are working, I am greeting parents and students, putting supplies away, and also walking around to see how my students are doing.
3. Give the rules, explain the rules, model the rules, and ENFORCE the rules: I cannot tell you how important classroom management is! If you do not establish the rules and enforce them starting day one, you are going to have trouble with behavior for the rest of the school year. I use this clip chart here along with a recording sheet that goes home each day. I establish clear rules with clear consequences, but I also have rewards for good behavior. I have a monthly behavior party for students who fill out their punch cards.
4. Don’t stress: Last but not least, do not stress! Your kiddos will love their teacher no matter what. Say a prayer to start your day and let if flow!! Enjoy your new kids and have a great school year!
What is something that you do that helps you survive the first day of school? Leave me your thoughts in the comments section.