New Teacher Checklist: Your Plan for the First Day of School
As a new teacher, it’s normal to feel both nervous and excited as the first day of school approaches. There’s a lot to do to make sure your first day goes well, and a checklist can help you stay on track. When you take the time to prepare, you can transform first-day jitters into positive energy. Planning ahead is one of the best ways to ensure that your school year gets off on the right foot, with engaged students and an organized classroom. Here are some helpful steps you can take before the first day of school to make a strong start.
Decorate Your Classroom
You want to create a friendly, inviting space for your students, and colorful bulletin boards, signs, and name tags can help them feel comfortable and ready to learn. Some great ideas include adding potted plants to your space and putting up pictures to brighten up the room.
Choose a Creative Way to Introduce Yourself to the Class
To help your students get to know you, you may want to write a short biography and post it near your desk. Another idea is to write your name on the chalkboard or whiteboard and create a simple collage of things you like to do. You can also include yourself in any icebreakers you assign to the class on the first day.
Write and Practice Lesson Plans for the First Week
It’s always better to be overprepared, so create detailed lesson plans for the first week of school. You may even want to create extra lesson plans to have on hand as you learn your classroom’s pace and learning speed, according to TeachHUB.
Gather and Organize Your Teaching Supplies
Make sure you have everything you need for your classroom before the first day. It’s a good idea to ask other teachers or administrators what materials are provided. Then you can create a list of the things you still need, like folders, staples, dry erase markers, and other items.
Decide on Classroom Rules and Consequences
It’s important to have a solid set of rules from the start of the year so that students know what is acceptable behavior. A list of rules posted on your bulletin board or elsewhere in the classroom makes your expectations clear. Another good idea is to provide a take-home rule sheet for parents to sign.
Get Used to Classroom Technology
Find out what your new classroom has in terms of technology, whether it’s a smartboard, tablets, or desktop computers. Then, you can learn best practices and simple hacks to help students learn how to use them. It’s also a good idea to create a class webpage or social media account where students and parents can find important information such as homework assignments and your contact information.
Arrange Your Classroom
You can choose to arrange desks in rows, clusters, or other formations depending on your teaching style. You may want to stick with traditional desk arrangements until you know your students (and their behavior) better. The first seating plan you come up with will probably be temporary, so be open to changing it later.
Create Classroom Systems and Procedures
For a well-managed classroom, it’s important to have clear systems in place for using the restroom, turning in homework, and more. You can also set up communication channels with parents so that they know how best to reach you, and vice versa.
Prepare an Icebreaker Activity
Icebreakers are a great way to help students feel comfortable in their new classroom. Any fun activity that requires students to get to know one another (and you!) is ideal. The best part is that icebreakers are easy to implement and can take up as much or as little time as you like.
When it comes to the first day of school, your best bet is to work through a checklist like this one to be sure that you’ve got everything covered, from bulletin boards to class rules and more. You can find even more tips here. And for other ideas to help you get ready for the school year, take a look at the following courses:
- Creating a Successful Practice in the First Years of Teaching
- Creating Bulletin Boards to Enhance the K-6 Classroom
- Effective Classroom Management: Grades 7-12
- Operation Organization: Establishing Order in Your Classroom
- Effective Classroom Management for the 21st Century Teacher
They’ll give you customizable strategies and tips to help you manage your classroom and prepare for a successful year of learning for your students. You can also explore all of our professional development course options!