As with any new job, the first day can be a mixture of excitement, nerves and anxiety. You’ve done the hard work, the studying, tests and work experience. You’ve gone through the interviews and landed your first teaching job. Although you have experienced teaching in a controlled environment and had work experience, the responsibility of a classroom teacher is different. Here are a few tips and tricks to ensure a smooth and exciting first year teaching.
Learn the layout of the school.
You don’t want to spend your first day wandering around the school trying to find the staffroom or photocopier. Learn the layout, where the entrances and exits are, staffroom, cafeteria and other important facilities you might need. Don’t feel like you need to know the school like your own home but have a vague idea of where everything is.
Know the policies for staff and students.
Every school will have different policies, the policies you had in the school you went to on work experience may be different to the one you will be teaching in. Pay close attention to the attendance and discipline policies as well as how to request days off when you are ill. It’s always handy to have a print out of the official handbook and other important documents to hand just in case you need to read up on something. Also, never be afraid to ask a co-worker about any policies you are unclear about.
Share your story and plan an ice-breaker activity for the students.
How you spend your first day will determine the tone of your classroom for the rest of the year. Don’t forget this is a new year for your students, you may be teaching year 7 which for them it will be a new school as well or perhaps have students in your class who have just moved to that school. It’s important to properly introduce yourself and share your story about how and why you became a teacher. Children are curious, and it’ll break the ice and allow them to see you as a real person and not a robot who only exists within the school grounds. Many students will also be nervous on the first day either about making friends, speaking in class or who they’ll end up sitting next to. By doing an ice-breaker activity it’ll allow students to get to know you, there fellow classmates and the classroom itself.
Create a welcome pack.
Creating a welcome pack will not only show your new students that they are thought of but also as a way of introducing yourself to the parents. It can include a welcome letter for the parents, classroom rules, upcoming events, resources, how to contact you and a communication survey for the parents. It could even include a little survival kit for the students, Pinterest is great if your stuck on what to include.
Contact the parents at the end of the day.
You’ve aced your first day of teaching but before you pack up and go home for a well-deserved rest, call or email the parents to introduce yourself and tell them how their children got on during their first day. The sooner you establish a good relationship with the parents, the better it’ll be if you ever have any issues.
Starting anything new can be nerve-racking but this is what you’ve worked so hard for so enjoy your first day and why not have a little fun and partake in the #MyFirstClassroom picture trend on Twitter.
If you can think of any more tips for the first day of school, then drop us a comment below in the box or Tweet us @Staffroomed.