High Five the First Days is a series of blog posts aimed at new teachers, or teachers just looking for ideas or reminders. The purpose is to help in the establishment of a solid foundation on which you can build an awesome school year. This is by no means a definitive list. The best way to fully prepare for the year ahead is read as much as possible, open your mind, commit to the idea of change, and to proactively seek out experienced colleagues willing to share their best practices. Hopefully, the ideas below will be one of the steps on your road to awesomeness! Hi 5!
Whether you’re a newbie or a grizzled old vet, the first days of school can be hectic. Meetings, surprise parent pop ins, unscheduled renovations/maintenance, missing resources, fire drills, training, chatty colleagues – so many things can disrupt your vital preparation time. To ensure your year starts off right, be prepared – plan. Weeks before school even begins, I like to have the first week planned out in detail, and the first month roughed out. (I am a bit of an A-type personality, so – in reality – I rough out much of the entire year before the year begins, but that’s just me).
There are many good templates online. Make sure you find one that reflects the philosophy of your district/school. I actually use two different models these days. I use a detailed one for day-to-day plans and a week-at-a-glance version when I need to keep track of which block is doing what on any given day.
Whatever personality type you are, try to get at least a week of solid plans ready to go as soon as possible. There are so many interruptions and surprises early in the year that having your classes mapped out keeps you on track.
You DO NOT want to start off the year looking flustered or unprepared in front of the students. Analogy – a drop of blood in shark-infested waters. Oh, I exaggerate you not! Students can sniff out weak plans a mile away. Next thing you know, you’re having a class discussion about Grey’s Anatomy or the latest member of One Direction to exit.