Getting ready for your first year teaching is exciting and anxiety-inducing all at the same time. There are so many things to think about it is sometimes hard to even get started.
Instead of allowing your nerves to get the best of you, the best course of action is to come up with a solid plan. This plan should remain flexible but will put you at an advantage when it comes to knowing what to do when you first get to your classroom.
Plan Your Procedures
Classrooms run on procedures. Everything from the way students enter the classroom to how they sharpen pencils to how they check books out of the classroom library has a procedure.
It is a lot. That’s why it is important to at least begin thinking about these procedures before you get to your classroom. When you have a general idea of how you want to put a procedure in place write it down because you will forget and you want to be able to refer back to it as the school year gets closer.
While you are thinking through procedures for your own classroom keep in mind things do change and what you think may be perfect might need some tweaking once you are in the moment.
If you want more ideas on things to think about for your first year in the classroom check out this post.
Get to Know Your Team
I would highly encourage you to try and get together with your teaching team for a purely social outing before school begins. This isn’t always possible, because we are all busy, but it goes a long way to building a working relationship with those you will see almost every day.
You do not have to be best friends with your team, but you do need to have a professional relationship of respect for one another. You also might find that your teammates are the family you never knew you were missing. Anything is possible!
After you get to know your teammates a bit dive right into any questions you may have. Don’t be afraid to ask them about the school, the curriculum, and what they are doing over the summer, if anything, to get ready for the school year.
Your team of fellow teachers on your grade level and at your school will be your greatest resource throughout your career in the classroom.
Plan for Community
A classroom is all about building relationships. Just as your relationship with your colleagues is important, getting to know and love your students will also be a vital part of making your first year teaching successful.
Relationship building cannot be left to chance, but should instead be purposefully used throughout the school year to make sure the classroom is a safe and welcoming place where all of your students feel a sense of belonging and that they are loved. This is priority number one.
Community building in the classroom often comes down to personal style. What works for one classroom isn’t always a winner in another. You and your students must find what works for you and run with it.
Some ideas for community building:
- Classroom Meetings
- Cooperative Learning Activities
- STEM Challenges That Get Students Working Together
- 10×2 Strategy
Most likely you will use a combination of many strategies to build and keep your classroom community strong.
While you work hard to build your classroom community, don’t forget to include families in the process by also building the home-school connection and ensuring families know they are also welcome anytime.
Plan Your Space
One of the things most first year teachers get excited about is their classroom, and you should be! BUT I am here to tell you to step away from Pinterest and put down the hot glue gun.
Above anything else, your classroom should be functional for you and your students. You do not need to spend hours making sure your classroom is ready to be photographed for a magazine. Instead, focus on learning spaces that will support your classroom community and give your students a safe place to learn.
Things to focus on:
- Accessibility for all students and staff
- Student-centered design that shows a classroom is a place of learning
- Arrangement of seating for students to work collaboratively
- Resources that represent all the students in your room as well as those different from them
- Tools for learning
Want More Support as a First Year Teacher?
Your first year of teaching can be hard, but you don’t have to do it alone. Join our Facebook community for first year teachers. We are here to support you, encourage you, and help problem solve throughout your first year in the classroom and beyond.