Beginning the School Year
It’s that time of the year again. Summer is quickly coming to an end, families are squeezing in last minute summer trips, and teachers are taking off their sleep masks, putting away their suitcases, or coming out of their month-long hibernation and are getting ready to go back to school (if they haven’t already been working during the summer, that is).
With the first day of school coming up for many teachers, new and old, there are always a few important facts to consider before starting off. A new school year comes with new students, new material to teach, new coworkers, and, possibly, a new environment. At least a few of these will apply to any teacher during the upcoming semesters.
The most important thing we can do as teachers is to create a plan for the year. Of course, it’s impossible to create an infallible plan that will last throughout the entire school year; however, we can create a plan and stay consistent with its principles.
Some things to consider when starting off:
What will be the laws of the land in your classroom? Before your first day of class try to think of what kind of rules you want your students to follow. Keep them vague with an overarching theme so when I student starts to get out of line you can refer back to your list.
It’s crucially important that these rules remain visible in the classroom at all times. Your students should always be able to see the rules and they will act as a constant reminder of your expectations of them.
Before starting your first day of teaching it’s vital to understand what you will be teaching. If possible, go into your school early and take a look at the materials you will be required to teach. Having a better understanding of the lessons you will need to teach will help you with the preparation process.
The first step is to find out what your school expects your students to learn by the end of each unit or semester. Once you acquire this information you can start creating lesson plans that will coordinate with the overall curriculum. If you can understand the overall goal the students need to reach, creating the process through which they will acquire that information becomes much more simple.
Having solid lesson plans to start the year off with will make your job run so
much smoother. Teachers have all been there where we are looking at the clock desperately finding new activities to do in order to fill time.
Overplan rather than underplan. Planning more than you need for any given lesson will provide more breathing room and extra material to cover in the following classes. Particularly in the beginning of the year, when the students still have so much material to learn, plan as much as you can so your extra planning can flow into lesson further down the road. Once the middle or ¾ mark of the semester hits you should have enough material to cover from your extra planning in the beginning.
Cultivate your own style of teaching. Particularly for teachers with only a little experience, try to figure out what kind of teacher you want to be. Strict, loose, funny, serious, disciplinarian, the loving mom/dad, or, of course, a mixture of a few styles. Whichever one you choose there are advantages and disadvantages.
Every individual has their own personality and those traits should play into your teaching style. If you’re a quiet person, use that to your advantage; make the students need to listen to you. Maybe you’re loud; capture the attention of the room with a booming statement.
The beauty of teaching is that there is no one correct way to do it nor is there one correct personality for a teacher. We all come in different shapes and sizes.
With these tips in mind go out confident and ready to dominate this coming school year! Happy teaching!