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Beginning of the Year Teacher Strategies

Getting the Year Started on the Right Foot


Books and school items. Students begin heading back to school in August.

Starting out on the right foot is the key to beginning of the year teaching success.

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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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