Starting the School Year off Right – Teacher Edition
Well teachers, the time has come – a new school year is upon us! We want you set up for success, and ready to start the year off right with the help of some simple tips to make the transition back into the classroom as smooth as possible.
While there will always be challenges, with a little thought and prep – every teacher can start the school year off on a positive note and confident in the upcoming school year!
Get Yourself Ready
Give yourself enough time to set up your classroom, read through your materials, and make a plan for the year. Don’t forget to take time for yourself and get enough sleep – teaching is the most rewarding job, but also an exhausting one!
Learn About Your School
You should already be familiar with Apollo’s policies from training. Make sure to also read a copy of your school’s building policies. How are fire drills handled? Where do you go in case of a tornado? What is the policy on letting the office know when you take your students outside? Which door should you use? You need to know all of this before the first day of school!
If you don’t start off the year organized there’s a good chance it never will be. Find a home for all your materials, and take the time to teach your students where things go as well.
If possible, connect with your co-teachers before the first day of classes. An email or phone call is all you need – as long as you take the time to introduce yourselves and get on the same page.
Once you get to the school, take time to meet your building secretary, custodian, and principal. Be friendly and stay in regular communication – they can all be a big help to you throughout the year.
If you will be using the gym for activities this year be sure to introduce yourself and build a relationship with the PE teacher as well.
If you need something or have a question about the school, don’t be afraid to ask. If you have an Apollo related question talk to your Area Coordinator right away. They easiest way to fix problems is to speak up as soon as the questions or concerns arise.
Set the Tone
Establish your classroom rules on the very first day of school, and stick to them! Limit the amount of rules to no more than 5 – any more than that and your students won’t remember them. Setting rules from day 1 sets a solid foundation for the rest of the year.
Model, Model, Model
Show students the correct way to do things, show them the wrong way to do things, model things yourself, have students model things. Children learn the most when they are actively involved in seeing your expectations for your classroom.
Try plan at least the first two weeks of school before the first day! Those first weeks are filled with teaching procedures, rules, and routines, and lots of time to get to know your class and start building relationships. When you have your activities planned out you can spend more time focusing on those very important things!
Plan More Than You Think You Need
Going along with the last one, plan way more than you think you might need for those first few weeks of school. Nothing is worse than finishing an activity only to realize you finished it 20 minutes early! This doesn’t mean you need to plan extra structured activities – simple material free activities is the way to go.
- Play Simon Says
- Do a freeze dance
- Have extra printed activities/coloring pages/worksheets (every Site Director should have some of these from us!)
- Read a book
- Take out board games
- Host a Lego building contest by having students work in small groups to build something in the time you have – say 20 minutes to build a house, or 15 minutes to build a dinosaur.
Check out this post: 20 Games to Play While You Wait
for some more awesome no prep time filler activities
Have a Positive Attitude
Be flexible, be patient, and keep your sense of humor!
A little extra planning before school begins can pay off big throughout the year. Starting off on the right foot can make all the difference!