The first day of school brings with it a wide range of emotions for all teachers, but especially a new teacher. No matter how much time a person has spent student teaching and substitute teaching, nothing fully prepares a teacher for the first day in his or her own classroom. But it is definitely possible to plan for a successful first day of school!
If you have taken the time to carefully prepare your classroom for the first day of school, then you are ready to think about activities for the first day. Here are some simple steps that will increase the likelihood of enjoying not only a smoother first day, but a smoother day every day!
Write Everything Down
Although many things will become automatic in the months and years to come, the first week of teaching is not the time to fly by the seat of your pants. Write everything down.
Make detailed lists of what you need to do. Since you have no way of knowing what your students will be like, don’t leave anything to chance. If it is written down, you can’t forget it.
Create Detailed Lesson Plans
Lesson plans should be written in detail, including all of the necessary supplies, books, handouts, etc. Write down the important questions that go with the lesson. Have in mind ways you can quickly expand the lesson if it is too simple for your class. Think through how you will salvage the lesson if it is too hard.
Although teachers always need to be prepared for adapting lessons on the fly, this is even more important as you are getting to know your students at the beginning of the year and you haven’t had time to fully assess their abilities.
Overplan for Each Day
It is absolutely necessary to overplan during the first week of school. Again, since you don’t fully know what to expect of your students at this point, you can’t accurately gauge how long any particular activity might last. Even if you used the same activity during student teaching, it will not play out the same way with a different set of students.
Overplan for the day with the idea that if you don’t get to something you’ve planned, you can move it forward to the next day. It is much easier to move something forward than scramble to find something else for the students to do at the last minute while they are all watching you.
Mentally Walk Through the Day
Sit down the night before and/or the morning of the first day of school and walk step-by-step through your plans. How will you distribute materials? Do you have everything you need and is it carefully organized? Don’t assume anything!
Think through each step and what you will say and how you will act. By doing this, it will feel familiar when you are actually in the midst of it with the students.
Arrive at School Early
Arriving early every day is one of the keys to a successful first year of teaching. Take the time to walk through the day, check all of your materials, etc. Then take a few minutes and sit down by yourself and do something that will encourage and inspire you. Read a book that you find meaningful, listen to music, write in a journal, or ponder the quote on your daily teacher calendar. Whatever it is, take five minutes to exhale and focus on what is ahead.
Please check out the other posts I’ve written to help and encourage new teachers!
- How to Prepare Your Classroom for the First Day of School
- Classroom Management Strategies for New Teachers and the New School Year
- Simple Classroom Activities for the First Day of School
And don’t forget to check out some of the products I’ve created that I wish I would have had when I started teaching!
Brain Breaks Fun Movement Activities with Editable CardsWord Search Puzzles – Full Year of Seasons BundleCalendar Center Task Cards BundleDistraction-Free Print Handwriting Practice – Upper and Lower Case without ArrowsDistraction-Free Print Handwriting Practice – 100 Sight Words without ArrowsApples Unit with CraftivityMemory Games Bundle – 16 Activities for Themes and HolidaysBack to School Literacy and Math Pack – 10 Centers