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Beginning of the Year Teacher Strategies

Getting the Year Started on the Right Foot

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  • Get to know the secretarial staff. They will be invaluable as sources of information.
  • Get to know the media staff. They control the multimedia of the school and can make your life much easier.
  • Be prepared to miss a lot of days in the beginning because of the exposure to diverse illnesses. Therefore, become friendly with the person who arranges substitutes.
  • Ask questions of those around you. They were once new, too.
  • Bring a change of clothes to move those dusty books out of storage.
  • Make sure any multimedia equipment you get works. For example the overhead bulb might need to be changed.
  • Have lesson plans ready for the first day. Even better, plan for the first week if you can find the time. A well planned day will make things go a lot smoother.
  • Have an agenda on the board before the students arrive. An agenda gives you a plan and creates an atmosphere that things are going to happen in your class.
  • Have a Warm-up/Do now every day. A Warm-up gives the students something to do at the beginning of class while you are taking care of the housekeeping duties, like roll call.
  • Have an icebreaker activity for the first day. This will allow your students to get to know each other and enable you to learn some valuable information about them.
  • Fill out your grade book as soon as possible. If your records are not kept up from the beginning, you could very well be overwhelmed the entire year.
  • Create and post a grading system consistent with school policies.
  • Create a restroom pass system that follows school policies while making your life easier. You don't want students constantly interrupting the learning process for restroom breaks.
  • Create a make-up work system that is in accordance with school policies. Make up work can easily snowball into a disaster.
  • Be a team player. Many schools are designed using a team approach and you will have to be flexible.
  • Dress professionally. Students may not take you seriously if you are wearing sneakers and blue jeans.
  • Have high expectations. Students will achieve more if you expect their best.
  • Be your own best substitute. Some days you will feel under the weather, and there is nothing wrong with a little seat work now and then.
  • Be tougher on the students in the beginning. It is always easier to lighten up than tighten down.
  • Be at your door to welcome students. If you act like you don't want to be there, how can you expect them to want to be there.
  • Learn their names as quickly as you can. It is much easier to control a class if you can ask 'John' to stop talking, rather that 'You with the black shirt!' One strategy is to learn just a few names the first day, and use them the next. This will get the students attention.
  • Say please and thank you to the students. If you model the behaviors you want, you are much more likely to get them.
  • Be compassionate to your students' needs. However, avoid the common pitfall of wanting to be your students' best friend.
  • Try to keep a positive attitude. There will be many ups and downs but you are in a truly noble profession.
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