On the first day of school, the new teachers are filled with excitement and anxiety. Under the guidance of a supervising teacher, new teachers might have gained experience in teaching in a controlled environment. However, the duties of a class teacher are different. Generally, international boarding schools in India have a special workshop in which teacher training programs are run to enhance their skills. To set yourself up for success in the classroom from day one, given below are the 12 first day strategies:
1. Familiarize Yourself With the School
The first thing to do is learning about the school and its formation. Learn about the locations like student restroom and faculty restroom closest to your classroom, student cafeteria, media center, entrances and exits, teacher workrooms, etc. This will help if the new student asks some questions from you.
2. Know the School Policies for Teachers
You need to learn about the policies and procedures of the individual schools and school districts. Also pay attention to attendance policies, discipline plans mentioned in the official handbooks.
New teachers might get sick frequently during the first year as they are exposed to new germs. In that case, they should know the way to ask for the day off.
3. Know the School Policies for Students
With the help of the student handbook, learn about the student policies and procedures. Student dress code, grades, attendance, in-class behavior, etc. should be known to the teachers. Learn about the policies regarding student cellphone use; some schools directly confiscate the phone while others give two or three warnings. Find out what is your school policy.
4. Meet Your Coworkers
Coworkers, especially those who teach near your classroom and to whom you may turn to first with any concern or question, try to be friends with them. Meet and build a relationship with the key people in school like an individual in charge of teacher absence, media specialist, librarian.
5. Organize Your Classroom
Arrange your classroom furniture the way you want it to be throughout the year. The organization of the classroom should be done in the week given before the first day. Also, hang the posters of the topics you will be covering during the year or add decorations to the bulletin board.
6. Prepare Materials for the First Day
The procedure for making photocopies should be one of the first things to be learned. In some schools, there is office staff to make photocopies while in some you can do it yourself. But for the first day, you should plan to prepare copies. Also, check for the needed material in advance.
7. Create Detailed Lesson Plans for the First Week
For the first month or the first week of the school, prepare the lesson plans in detail with directions for yourself. Sometimes relevant materials are not available, or technology fails, or there are times when extra students show up, so always prepare a backup plan for each case.
8. Practice Technology
Before school starts, make sure that you practice the technique. Know about the platforms used by the school. Also, learn about the login procedures and passwords beforehand. To set up your digital use, find out the software licenses available to you.
9. Arrive Early
To get well settled in your classroom on the first day, do not forget to arrive early at school. To avoid the last-minute hunt, keep all your material organized.
10. Greet Each Student and Begin to Learn Their Names
Stand at the door and greet the students with a smile, the first time they enter the classroom. Try to learn the names of a few students and use them while teaching. Make sure that your smile does not give a wrong impression of you being a weak teacher; it should only mean that you are pleased to meet them.
11. Review Rules and Procedures With Your Students
Post the classroom rules on the very first day to bring them under the notice of students. These rules should be framed according to the school’s discipline book or student handbook. If any of these rules are broken, always take the necessary measures. Read every rule to them yourself as they will never read them on their own. If you frame some rules involving some students for the class, make sure that they complement the rules already established by the school.
12. Start Teaching on the First Day
Always teach something on the first day, instead of spending the entire period on introductions and discussion about the rules. Start with attendance, then go through classroom rules, syllabus and then start with the studies. This will create an impression in the student’s mind that their classroom from the first day will be a place of learning.