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Beating First-Day Jitters

Beating the "First-Day Jitters"

  1. Know the rules. Get acquainted with school policies and procedures ahead of time. Most districts have handbooks for staff. If you are not offered one, ask for one.
  2. Find out where things are located. Familiarize yourself with the building, locating exits, the principal’s office, gym, nurse’s office, cafeteria, supply room, faculty lounge, media center, etc.
  3. Introduce yourself. Meet the teachers in your area; they can be of real help in the first few weeks of school. Take the time to say ‘hello’ to the other important people: the librarians, counselors, school nurses, secretaries, cafeteria workers and custodians.
  4. Decorate your room. Make it a comfortable and inviting place to learn.
  5. Use traditional seating. Start with the traditional arrangement until you’ve established control and know your students’ names.
  6. Get your materials ready. Make sure you have all the materials you’ll need for getting underway: paper, pencils, books and so forth.
  7. 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.
  8. Get there early. On the first morning, arrive early so you’ll have time to ask any last-minute questions, go over final plans, and relax before the students come in.
  9. Greet your pupils. Be in your room when the pupils arrive. Write your name on the chalkboard. Greet the students with a smile and a pleasant “good morning.” Encourage them to be seated and to remain so.
  10. Get down to business. Make opening exercises brief. Your goal for the morning is to get down to the business at hand.
  11. 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.
  12. Review the rules. Introduce your students to your classroom rules and regulations the first day. There must be clearly defined procedures for getting books and materials, sharpening pencils, entering and leaving the room, and so forth.
  13. Begin learning. Make the first day of school a real one. Accomplish some constructive learning with your students. A good start yields big dividends later.
  14. Consult with your mentor. Ohio’s mentoring program, effective statewide in 2002, provides every beginning teacher with an experienced mentor for his or her first year of teaching. Achieved largely through OEA’s lobbying efforts in the state capitol, the program represents an important step forward for teachers’ success.
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