Start the school year right! 18 tips from teachers

January 25, 2016 , In: TEACH
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My husband Cameron said I should write a post on getting ready for another school year and I thought it was a great idea, except I went blank. I don’t have a list of steps I follow or keep in mind. If the start of the year was an ocean wave, I just stand there, meet it with a smile and wait for it to hit me.

If the start of the year was an ocean wave, I just stand there, meet it with a smile and wait for it to hit me.

 

Fortunately (for you and me), I am not the source of all teaching wisdom & knowledge. I thought about all the wonderful teachers around the world whose ideas and experiences can inspire and help us take a step back before that wave drenches us.

With a grateful heart for people’s generosity, I share with you tips from teachers on how we can make a wonderful start to another year of teaching:

  1. First, congratulations to you for being a teacher! Welcome to a new year! Build strong relationships…..Truly get to know your students. This will help you motivate them, take good care of them, and educate them well throughout the year. Relationship building is a POWERFUL tool for educating students.

– Felecia George Prince, Year 6&7 Social Studies Teacher

  1. Do what you say you’re going to do. Whatever rules or guidelines you cover on the first day, make sure you follow through. A successful year depends on it.

– Michael Linsin, Smart Classroom Management (highly recommended!)

  1. One thing I like to do is read each of the student’s files. This way I know from day one where each student is at academically and I can start giving them the extra support they need to catch up or stay on track.

– Heather Lynch, Year 1 Teacher

  1. I teach 6th grade in Phoenix, Arizona at an inner-city school (with very poor families). I think the thing that has made my year go the easiest is to do class builders and team builders as much as possible the first couple of days. Then I continue with several others for the first couple of weeks and from time to time throughout the year. It really helps my kiddos to buy into the fact that we are a team and when we work as a team we can do amazing things. I also make sure to call home for each child within the first 2 weeks to let parents know how much I value their child in my room and to start us out on a positive note instead of the first time I call being to tell them that their child is not doing what s/he is supposed to. Whenever possible, I have the student in the room while I make the call to bolster their self-esteem.

– Karen Merkley, Year 6 Teacher

‘I  make sure to call home for each child within the first 2 weeks to let parents know how much I value their child in my room and to start us out on a positive note instead of the first time I call being to tell them that their child is not doing what s/he is supposed to.’

 

  1. All grade levels would benefit from reading First Days of School by Harry Wong.

– Dana Whaley Jobe

  1. I teach middle school science and while other teachers spend the first day going over rules and talk, talk, talking, I do an easy, interesting experiment or stem activity. Before each step I discuss expectations of behavior, group work, and writing expectations on the lab sheet. The kids get a positive first impression and excited, positive kids are much easier to teach! We do go over procedures many times, but I like to do it over the first week in real life situations.

– Sara Bykowski

  1. I take the first week of school to build rapport and community within the classroom. Day one is spent getting to know each other and playing “community games together.” I save directly teaching of rules and pre-testing, as required by my district, for second day onward. I want the first day to be as positive and motivating for children and families as possible.

– Dawn Hancock, Kindergarten Teacher

‘I save directly teaching of rules and pre-testing, as required by my district, for second day onward. I want the first day to be as positive and motivating for children and families as possible.’

 

  1. My advice for your first year of teaching is to meet your new mentor teacher, get along with them, learn from them and confide in them. Even after your first year of teaching, try to keep them as your mentor, if possible FOREVER!

– Brendan Deith, Year 1/2 Teacher

  1. Be ready to deal with problems while they’re still small. My first year of teaching,I let a lot of little things go because I didn’t know what to say, but the little things didn’t stay little – they grew into big problems. I learned instead to kindly address small problems with something like, “Jackson, please walk into the classroom and go straight to your seat. Thank you.” It made all the difference.

– Linda Kardamis, Teach4theHeart, check out her back-to-school series

Thank you to all the teachers who have contributed to this list of tips. It is so wonderful to see similar themes in your ideas as we all try to do the best for the students in our care.

There are more teaching advice coming your way, but I thought I’d let these nine tips sink in first. Make sure you check in next week for Part 2 as some of my favourite people share their thoughts!

Start the year

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Rachel Herweynen

Teacher & Traveller

Alive because of Jesus - a teacher, traveller and wife of a photographer. I write to learn, to help and to be thankful.

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