First Day of School / First Year Teacher

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The first day of school for a new teacher will include new procedures, new faces and a strange environment they are not accustomed to.  Whether the teacher has been certified through an approved university program or an alternative certification program, the first day of school can be daunting endeavor.  For new teachers straight out of college, the first year of teaching usually will provide more insight and challenges than the previous four years of college.  For many of the first year teachers who were certified through a university program, their first day of school is their first full-time job.  For individuals completing their internship with an alternative certification program, the transition can be a bit easier since the majority of the applicants tend to be older and usually have several years of real world job experience.

There are many support networks a new teacher can utilize on their first day of school.  These support networks and resources can have an enormous impact on the effectiveness and happiness of first year teachers.  Getting off on the right foot on the first day of school will help first year teachers successfully transition into the classroom.  A good start to the first day of school can be the difference between a successful year for a teacher and a year of distress/unhappiness. 

Take Charge on the First Day of School:

  • Outline the discipline plan and code of conduct expected of students on the first day of school.  You should send a copy of the disciplinary code home to parents on the first day of school, so it can be signed and return the following day.
  • You should setup ground rules for class discussion.
  • On the first day of school, you should discuss with your class the policy for late homework or being absent for quizzes/tests.

Planning is crucial:

  • First year teachers should organize their rooms before the first day of school.
  • You should prepare lesson plans in advance, so you will have adequate time to integrate interesting activities and examples into the lesson.
  • First year teachers should try to plan for the unexpected on the first day of school.  This will help to alleviate stressful situations on the first day of school.  What will your students think of the lesson?  What type of questions are expected?

Peer Support:

  • First year teachers should find a mentor before school begins or on the first day of school.  A mentor will provide valuable information to first year teachers and help them transition into the classroom.
  • A mentor will help a first year teacher when they need advice or have questions regarding curriculum.
  • Mentors will help first year teachers clear the hurdle of first day jitters.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions from veteran teachers – remember, they were once first time teachers.

Get Parental Support:

  • You should have each child take home the disciplinary code on the first day of school.  Make sure each parent signs the disciplinary code and the student returns it the following day.
  • You should encourage parents to get involved in their child’s education.  Invite parents to help out with field trips or school dances.

Have Fun:

  • Beginning with the first day of school, first year teachers should plan their curriculum around fun activities and try to involve the class in thought provoking discussions. 
  • Always try to reward your class by offering incentives for good behavior or high test scores.  A pizza party or field trip will inspire any child.
  • After reading a novel, try and show the movie coinciding with the novel to give each student a visual representation of the novel they just finished reading.
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