1. Meet your coworkers/make a friend- Don’t hesitate to introduce yourself to your co-workers, express your excitement for the upcoming year and greet them with a smile. Find a grade level team member or another staff whom you think you could get along with and go out of your way you visit their room and introduce yourself. Think of a question or two you could ask their advice on to break the ice.
2. Make friends with support staff – This one is HUGE your best friends while you are a teacher should be the secretaries, custodians, and cafeteria workers. They work HARD in your school and they are your connection to anything and everything you may need throughout the course of the year!
3. Have student supplies ready- It never fails. There will be students who show up with no pencils, pens, journals, etc. Have plenty of extra on hand so you can show them that you are willing to meet their basic needs. Don’t get frustrated at them for not bringing them. Their parents are the responsible parties and you never know their financial situation.
4. Have teacher supplies – You will certainly need to have your supplies ready. Stapler, tape, white out, sharpies, pens, pencils, hot glue gun, etc. This would be a good ice breaker for a co-worker. Ask if you can look around their room for anything you may have forgotten!
5. Know where EVERYTHING is in your room- From paperwork to textbooks. Know where EVERYTHING in your room is at all times! Get drawers and organizers and label, label, label.
6. Set the tone for your year / first impression- Don’t walk with your head down in the hallways. Make eye contact, smile, and give a hello to your co-workers and support staff. Your first impression will go a long way in building relationships in the future.
7. Know your way around the school- You will more than likely get a tour of the school. However, you need to be sure that you walk the school several times. Make a mental note (or even written notes) of the location of important places this can be restrooms, the gymnasium, all of the exits, the library, computer lab, etc.
8. Look over student and staff handbook- Be sure that you are familiar with your school policies. You need to know the dress code, all student technology expectations, all discipline policies, etc. You will want to be well versed in these.
9. Post your name and room number- Label the inside and outside of your classroom with your name and room number. This will help parents during open house, co-workers in learning your name, and students when they arrive.
10. A journal- Keep a notebook or a journal in your desk. Mine is labeled “WOW” notebook. When a student says something hilarious I will jot it down along with the name and date and look back over the course of the year. You can also keep a reflective journal. If you spend just a few minutes at the end of the day to write one positive and one aspect to work on you will be amazed at how more aware you will be of your teaching practices!
11. A calendar- You will NEED a calendar. Keep this with you can use different colored ink for different aspects of your life. I use red for school events, green ink for family events, and blue ink for any appointments scheduled. Find whatever works for you and stick with it!
12. Be OVER comfortable with your lesson plans- I cannot stress this one enough. Before the first day begins you should read over your lessons again, and again, and again. You should also plan more than what is needed. The last thing you want is to run out of materials because your adrenaline made you teach at a faster pace.
13. Get your seating in order- Your students will want to enter a classroom that is already set up and conducive to learning. Make sure your student seating is set up in a manner to accomplish your plans. You will more than likely change it several times over the course of the year and that’s okay!
14. Something to carry your papers and supplies in- You will need an over the shoulder bag or some teachers even use a rolling cart. Between the papers and books you will be taking home and your supplies you will certainly need something to transport it in.
15. Don’t expect a perfect day- You will learn quickly as a teacher that lessons and days rarely go exactly as scripted. There may be vomit, blood, urine, and Lord knows what else show itself on the first day. There may also be behavior issues on the first day. This will probably be the toughest job you have ever had but it will also be the most rewarding!
16. Be ready to adapt- Remember the urine and vomit I mentioned? You will need to be prepared to adapt and change as you begin your teaching career. Be willing to stop mid-lesson and change things around if needed. Be willing to give up your planning (because you will) in order to attend meetings. In other words, you will live in a constant state of reflection and adaptation as a teacher. Just remember, to keep this focused on what is best for your students at all times.