In general, be like Hermione and take a deep breath.
Need help? Here are some tips on stopping the stress!
You won’t have a Pinterest-worthy classroom your first year, and that’s definitely okay. Focus on what directly impacts your students’ learning.
Of course you do want to start gathering supplies for your classroom…it’s exciting! But be smart about it. Once you settle in you’ll know more about what your students will respond to!
DO: Obtain and use supplies provided by your school district. These go fast — learn how to keep track of them. Among the supplies you’ll need are: paper, pencils, pens, paper clips, masking tape, scotch tape, scissors, chalk, stapler, and staples. Find out how to obtain textbooks. If you are a floating teacher, prepare a means of moving materials from room to room, such as a luggage dolly with a small basket.
DO: Take advantage of association member benefit discounts. Your state and national association have discounts at stores like Michael’s and Target that you should use if you really must hit the store. Check out NEA Member Benefits here.
DON’T: Break the bank for a Pinterest-perfect classroom. You have plenty of time to get the theme and decorations perfect. Wait till you have a sense of how you will use your space and know what you need before you go broke. It might not turn out the way you imagine anyway!
DO: Schedule your time. Make a detailed schedule for the first few days, including times for each subject, restroom and lunch breaks, and other times your students will leave the room.
DO: Plan, plan, plan. Create lesson plans for the first few days. Plan at least twice as much as you think you can cover. Write down everything. Detailed plans will provide you with a feeling of security when facing the class for the first time.
DO: Determine classroom procedures before it’s too late. School will begin much more smoothly if you have decided in advance how to handle routine procedures. It is especially important for you to develop classroom discipline procedures that follow your districts’ policies and guidelines. Elementary teachers should decide on a system for: taking attendance, book and paper distribution, money collection, restroom visits, fire drills, classroom entrances and exits, and bus loading. Secondary teachers need to decide how to: take attendance, deal with tardy students, make assignments, collect papers, handle make-up work, and give hall passes.
DON’T: Figure it out on the fly! This may lead to piles of papers, confused kids, and a bit more chaos than you hoped for. It’s better to have classroom procedures that you tweak than none at all!
DO: Have a classroom management plan. Everyone’s first year is tough and, honestly, a tad bit crazy. Having awesome classroom-management plans will prepare you for the craziness and help you keep your sanity!
Take advantage of the free professional development your union offers. Find MSEA’s professional development offerings here.
Check out MSEA’s Preparation Checklist how to make your first weeks successful!
A lot is undecided right now about what the fall will look like. If and when the decision is made for distance learning to continue, your district will let you know what platforms you can use, how and where to post lessons, enter grades, and more. Remember: MSEA is here for you. We want you to succeed!
In the meantime you can check out MSEA Newsfeed’s professional practice articles, including Teacher Toolkits from current Maryland teachers—you’ll find best practices on using technology during coronavirus, lots of teacher tips, and more!