So you have your first teaching job. The contract is signed. You have a grade level. Now what?!
I can remember accepting my first job. I drove from Charleston to Charlotte, and then back to Charleston. On the long drive back after learning that I would teach 6th grade in an alternative middle school, the to-do list and list of questions grew to an overwhelming size. And the worst part was I had two months until my first teacher work day. If I could go back to my old self, here are the things I would tell myself to do.
1. Map out your classroom. If you have any idea what your classroom will look like then create a map of the room and start planning wall displays. If you don’t know what your room will look like, then start mapping out 4 walls. You can adjust it once you get in there. If you want a certain theme or color scheme, then start searching Hobby Lobby, Wal-mart, Target, and Michaels. (And be sure to watch for and use those coupons!)
2. Get to know the standards. Do a search for your state and district standards. For each topic or subject, create a Pinterest board and start searching for ideas to teach each of the standards (especially for those topics you know aren’t your favorite).
3. Decide on how you want to manage and communicate behavior. The main way to get your class on the right track is each year is to set up a plan for documenting and communicating behavior. The best way I found to do this is through a weekly self-assessment. To learn more read Are Your Students Self-Assessing or watch this video.
4. Set up a documentation system. Are you a digital person? On paper. It doesn’t matter what you use, but have a system to CYA (and CYA your students). I can’t tell you how many times a student was accused of writing on bathroom walls or saying things that based on my sign out or parent communication log wasn’t true. …… read this. To learn more about documentation and parent communication read The Ultimate Guide to Starting the School Year: 29 Things Teachers Need to Know Before the First Day.
If you want more ideas you can join The New Teacher Mentoring Facebook Group. This group is a positive place where teachers (especially new teachers) can get ideas and ask questions.