I started school today.
Ok, so I didn’t start school, but I was present at the “opening ceremonies” of a nearby private school. They started with a flag raising, the pledge of allegiance, and then shot off a cannon to begin the start of a new semester and what the principal assured would be the best year yet.
I’ve heard this speech before from principals and teachers, but who’s there to give the teachers a pep talk about the new year? Is there anyone telling teachers that they, too, can do great things if they put in a little bit of effort? While teachers may be out there giving helpful hints to their students on how to succeed, here are some pointers to help teachers start their school year out on the best foot, as well.
Set up your own environment. I’ll be the first to say that I am not a decorator, but it’s important to make your space your own. You don’t want to spend all day teaching in a boring, uninteresting room, and your students don’t either. Liven the place up with posters or photographs to make your work environment more welcoming.
Get into good habits early. I know that if I don’t start the year by deliberately following good habits, I get halfway into the school year before realizing I’m not nearly as effective as I could have been otherwise. Begin good habits early.
Learn the students’ names quickly. If you’re a secondary education major like myself, you know that you could have 100 or more students. While memorizing all of their names definitely seems overwhelming, remember how important it is for each student to feel a part of your class. Take your time, but definitely make an effort to learn students’ names quickly to establish a safe place for all of them.
Set expectations. If you explain your expectations to your students from the first day, there will be no room for misunderstanding. If behavioral problems arise, you can point back to the guidelines you had set up from the beginning. Students need structure, and providing it from the beginning is a great way to create order in your classroom.
- Get excited. Enthusiasm is contagious! Tell your students all about the exciting new things they’ll be learning throughout the year. No one is going to get them more excited about what they’ll be learning than you, so take some time to help them realize that it’s going to be a great year. Because with a little bit of preparation, it will be the best year yet.
How do you prepare yourself for the first few days of school?