Summer is coming to an end, which can only mean one thing: school starts soon. It’s a phrase that both teachers and students alike dread to hear. The first day can be a scary experience for both teachers and students, especially if the teacher is a first year teacher. However, by remembering these five things, you will find your first day going perfect.
1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
The first day of school is always exhausting. You will be going from well before school starts to far after the last student leaves the classroom. If you teach younger students, especially Kindergartners, you will have to keep a bright and sunny disposition all day long to help calm any of their fears. Older students are also just as demanding, needing to know school supply lists and having their schedules changed. A good night’s sleep is key to being able to handle everything with a smile. Try and get at least eight hours the night before.
2. Get there Early
The first day of school is crazy. Parents will be bringing their kids and walking them to their classrooms. Students will be making sure they know where each of their classrooms are and the best path between them. As the teacher, you need to take into account the extra traffic and make sure you get there before your students. You will also want to get there early and make sure that you have all of your papers in order for the day. Then take a deep breath and get ready for the students.
3. Set Classroom Rules and Boundaries
There’s an old saying that experienced teachers will tell new teachers, “don’t smile before Christmas.” Obviously, they don’t mean to actually frown the whole time you are in the classroom. However, it is important for you to realize that the tone of your classroom will be set in the first few days of school. Make sure to set firm and direct rules that leave no room for interpretation. Tell the students what the consequences for not following the rules are and then follow them. It is hard to gain control back over a classroom once control is lost. You can always ease back some once the students come to know what to expect.
4. Remember It’s the First Day
The students are just coming off of a two month break. Their minds are not back into the groove of things yet, so don’t plan anything too strenuous for them. You will want to take it a little easy. Go over the rules and supplies and then have a fun get to know you activity with them. Even if it is a small school, you can always learn something new about your students. Start with something fun they did over summer vacation or what they hope to accomplish during the school year.
5. Take a Moment
At the end of the day, take a moment and breathe a sigh of relief. Even if everything didn’t go exactly as planned, even if you didn’t make the best first impression, take a moment and realize you still have 179 more days with these students and tomorrow is a new day. So sit down and prop your feet up for a few minutes and smile, you survived the first day!