New-Teacher Tips for your first day at school

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New-Teacher Tips for your first day at school


The first day of school isn't just a big one for students; it's also important for teachers. It provides both with the opportunity to make a good first impression and set a positive tone for the rest of the year.

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.

Be early

We know that dragging yourself out of bed before 7 AM every single day of the school year is probably an unrealistic expectation - but it's worth doing so at least this once. Whether you're new to the school or a veteran, it's helpful to arrive early and make sure that everything is in order for the day. Arriving early gives you the chance to make sure that your classroom is properly set up, your materials are all in order, and your lesson plan is set. It can also give you the chance to deal with any last-minute issues, because, and let's be honest, there's always something.

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, staff room, 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 from 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 printout 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, their fellow classmates, and the classroom itself.

Review rules and more

The first day of school is the best day to give your students a sense of what to expect for the rest of the year. Review your classroom rules, procedures, and expectations. Provide structure early on so your students know what kind of behavior you'll be expecting from them.

Also, take this opportunity to preview the coming semester or year. What will the students be learning? What major projects or field trips can they expect? Putting it all out there at the beginning of the school year can help to ensure that there are no surprises later on.

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. 

Answer questions

Sure, there's a lot of learning to get to this year and you want to do it as soon as possible, but we recommend holding off on jumping into a lecture or academic work right off the bat. Instead, host a Q&A session. Let your students ask whatever questions they have about you, the subject, the syllabus, and so on. It may even be a good idea to let them ask the questions anonymously so that they feel comfortable asking whatever they like.

Of course, it is up to you which questions you do and do not answer, but do your best to clear up as many issues as you can. This will allow everybody to proceed with the rest of the school year with confidence.

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.

Final word

Starting anything new can be nerve-racking but this is what you’ve worked so hard for so enjoy your first day.

Go get 'em!

And that's it! Simple things that will get you off to a good start for the school year. With these tips in your pocket, there's no reason to be nervous on your first day. We wish you smooth sailing not only for the first day but also for the rest of the school days to come!

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