How to Start the School Year on the Right Foot
Getting to Know Your Students and Their Parents
Again, a no-brainer right....wrong!
Teachers often get sucked in to the idea of hurry hurry hurry to get students on task, completing assignments, taking assessments, etc...and forget the emotional aspects of school.
Students cannot learn if they do not feel safe. Students feel safe when they have someone to talk to and someone to listen. Don't underestimate this power, it's VITAL to your success!
Take the first several weeks and really get to know your students. Do "get to know you" activities. Find out their strengths and weaknesses. Find out their interests and hobbies. Find out how they learn best. Laugh, play, and enjoy them as they start creating the classroom family environment.
Then make sure you bond with the parents as well. Open House and Meet the Teacher are PRIME opportunities to make a good first impression. Greet each parent with a smile. Have positive things to say about the school, their child, and your excitement for the upcoming year. Now is not the time to say things about summer going too quickly, dreading the year, etc...DON'T FALL INTO THAT TRAP!
Really listen to parents and give them your undivided attention. They will create an impression of you as a person first and as a teacher later. Your goal should be to make them feel as if their child is the most important child in the room and that you will guide and support them no matter what. If you can do that, you will have their support immediately and you'll be amazed and how they will be behind you throughout the year. All because of an initial "meet and greet"!
Never underestimate the power of your personality. Too many teachers rely on their knowledge and forget that so much of teaching revolves around trust, respect, and feeling safe.
Getting Your Classroom Ready
This may sound like a no-brainer to most of you, but I have witnessed too many episodes to name where faulty planning created a horrible first two weeks of school.
Plan, plan, and plan some more. "See" your classroom running from day one. What do I mean by that?
- How will students enter your room in the morning?
- Where will they put their bags, sharpen pencils, turn in homework, etc...
- What will they do while you complete roll, lunch count, etc...
- How will you transition into your first lesson or morning message?
- What will be your procedures for getting out of their seat?
- What do student do if they finish an assignment early?
- Can they come to you or do they need a signal?
- How will students line up for lunch/activities?
- Can they talk quietly while they work?
- What are the consequences if a rule is broken?
This is only a partial list, and some of you may be overwhelmed already. It's a lot to think about, but the more you think about it now and PLAN for it to happen, the less stress you will have for yourself and the more smoothly your classroom will run from day ONE!
Students want to know their expectations. They want to follow the rules and procedures and they like praise. You will do yourself and your students a favor by planning all of these details in advance.
Set up rules and procedures, set up the physical space for your students to succeed. Keep it clean and organized. Have students be responsible for this also. They will value their space if they feel connected to it.
I am a former teacher and coach who LOVES helping others! My main objectives are to help teachers think more strategically and to work smarter, not harder. Teachers and administrators face high levels of accountability today. I help them streamline their research, planning, delivery, and coach them how to use data and reflection to become the best at what they do while feeling confident in the choices they make everyday.
I hope you find the following information helpful and use it to make this year the best it can be.
You Are a Hero!
Tips for a Successful School Year
- Get your classroom ready before Open House
- "See" your classroom running efficiently and organized and get it that way
- Plan your day and week
- Be flexible
- Get to know your students interests and abilities
- Be kind, generous, and caring to each parent
- Don't let outside influences effect your job
- Remember that children need repetition and to be taught different ways
- Collaborate with other teachers and don't try to do everything on your own
33 Ways to Start the First Year Off Right A Little Planning Pays Big Dividends
Check out this article for more ideas!
What Teachers Do
Teacher Go Above and Beyond
Great teachers go above and beyond to gain (and maintain) interest. Check out this quick and cute video that shows how some teachers show their love for teaching and their students.