Hey, we’ve been there. It’s two weeks before the school year starts and you’ve got a boatload of butterflies flying around in your stomach. You just saw your classroom and formally met your fellow staff members setting up their rooms to prepare for the school year. You’ve also received textbooks and other curriculum materials to generate your curriculum, and you’ve received the roster of 30 assorted names that you’ll have to memorize within a week. This, among numerous other endless responsibilities, is whirling around like a tornado in your brain. Yes, we know, it’s hard to calm down the endless chatter in your mind. But we’ve summarized 3 key Dos and Don’ts you want to take care of at the beginning of the year to make sure the rest of it is a smooth transition for you, rookie!
Beingan elementary school teacher comes the expectation of a lively, engaging classroom. Bright classrooms, clear labels, stations, and much more! You’re going to do a little bit of research of what’s good to have in the classroom, but until you know how many kids you’ll have and how much space, you could plan till you’re blue in the face, you’ll still end up having to change it and frustrated.
Also, always check in with your administration as to what their expectations for your classroom are. Do they expect a word wall in your room? A library? Majority of principals will say yes to these things but they may add to the list things you didn’t expect. Always find out what needs to go in your room FIRST, and then plan.
Ultimately, your room needs to be engaging and a warm place for your students to come to. If you don’t put in enough planning it’s going to show. You also don’t have to be the most artistic or creative to have the best room. That’s why Pinterest was invented.
Teaching is a collaborative profession. Your administration does not expect you to come in your first week and be as strong as their veteran teachers. But they do expect you to bring something new to the table, whether it is an activity, new perspective, or new experience. That’s why they hired you. So bring whatever it is that is unique about you to the faculty-meeting table.
In addition, bad habits die-hard. If there is something in your classroom that isn’t working, you might not be the first one to see it right away. Having frequent friendly visitors in your classroom (while it may seem nerve wracking at first) will turn you into an effective practitioner super quick. It’s always good to have a different set of eyes and perspectives to give you some good constructive feedback. Side note: it will really impress everyone that you requested observations as opposed as it being part of your teacher evaluation.
You spent the whole week planning the best lesson that you knew your kids were going to absolutely love. All the materials you hand painted and created, the timing was perfect… You couldn’t have been more proud of yourself. You’re in the middle of the lesson and just as the best part is about to start, the fire alarm goes off.
It’s a fire drill and that eats up the rest of the time for the lesson. Also, you won’t touch science again till next week.
Long story short, you can plan everything to a T, but there may always be something that ends up not going the way you planned, becomes interrupted, or there just isn’t enough time. Don’t let that bum your teacher flow though.
Remember, your kids feed off your emotions and the vibes you’re sending their way. If you show you’re frustrated by things you can’t control, they’ll learn to take life that way as well. Now, we don’t mean it’s not okay to vent sometimes, but it’s pointless to stay mad about stuff days later because it was out of your control.
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