You’ve been hired, you signed the paperwork, and are left wondering, “Now What? What should I be doing to prepare for my first year?”
I remember leaving the human resources office after signing my first contract. As I walked to my car, the euphoria began to wane, and anxiety surrounding the uncertainties of the coming months took its place.
It’s easy and completely understandable to be overwhelmed going into your first year. First off, lets take a look at EXACTLY where you are now:
Here’s Where You Left Off:
- You have just finished your student teaching semester. This is the closest you’ve come to actually running your own classroom.
- You’ve been left with a false sense of security because you came into a classroom where the routines and procedures were already established and YOU yourself have had little real practice in setting these up yourself.
- Depending on your how well you lucked out in the cooperating teacher lottery, you may not have been given the appropriate instruction/time to practice creating lesson plans.
I was in exactly this spot 5 years ago. Add to that the fact that I completed my student teaching in an affluent school, in a very nice area, and was then hired as a 5th grade teacher for a Title 1 school, and you’ve found yourself about as unprepared as you can get!
My first year was rough. I was forever wishing that there were better resources out there to guide us new teachers through the abyss that is your first year. Never found any.
So, I decided to create them! My goal is to help prepare new teachers for a successful first (and second, and third…) year! You should not have to go into your new classroom blindly. I will walk you through from the moment you get hired through your first year in the classroom. You don’t have time to waste, so let’s get started!
It’s July, What Can I Do Right Now?
First off, pump the breaks! PLEASE refrain from spending the last remaining funds from your credit card on the entire Target Dollar Spot. I know it’s tempting but we’ll get there! One step at a time, grasshopper 🙂
You won’t want to hear this, but there’s very little that you can do productively during this summer. I know, I know, you see teachers post all the time about their Pinterest-worthy “Summer Projects,” but remember- they are established teachers with established routines. You’ll get there.
YOU, my friend, need the basics first. Here is a list of what you CAN and SHOULD do the summer before your first year teaching. We’ll explore each one in detail throughout this series and I will point you to some great resources:
What to Do NOW for your First Year
- Take the FREE Classroom Setup E-Course to help you create a well-developed plan for how you want our new classroom to run, and determine exactly what you will need to buy so you don’t overspend!
- Purchase/Collect items for your classroom
- Organize these items so the transition to your classroom is quick and efficient
- Begin planning your Open House/Meet the Teacher day
- Preliminary planning for month 1
- Determine your personal behavior management style/collect materials to implement your system into your classroom
**In this post, we will cover the first 3 points above. Here is the series order for upcoming posts:
- Open House Night (more important than you may think!).
- Behavior management systems/Parent Communication
- Observations, lesson planning and data collection: What to expect your first year
I will provide resources to support each step so your first year is as stress-free as possible!
Let me start by giving you an insider TIP:
That “pre-school” week, where the teachers come back and you are planning on 5 full days of making your classroom the most beautiful, cozy learning environment on the planet? Yeah…you won’t get but a day or two to work in your room. That week is chock-full of meetings and staff development. Prepare to feel pretty clueless for hours on end as administration shares the details and data from the previous year’s testing results. Don’t worry, you will catch on quickly!
The takeaway here is-don’t bank on having a ton of time to get set up. You need a plan in place before you walk in. Many teachers actually set up their rooms mid-August before they are even required to report back- just so their rooms are done! If you have the option to get into your classroom early, take your stuff and at the very least do a drop off. If possible, set up your room before that first day back. It will make your life a lot easier! If that is not an option, no worries, just have a good plan of your setup and be ready to throw it all together on day 1! (And perhaps bribe some friends with pizza to help you with the setup!)
What Can I Do Now For My Classroom?
Here is what you CAN do starting RIGHT NOW to help set up your classroom for your first year:
- Decide on a “theme” if you want one- it is NOT essential, despite what Pinterest tells you! Many a successful and inspirational teacher had mis-matched items. BUT, if you are dead set on having a classroom theme, decide on it NOW!
- Sign Up for my Free Course on Classroom Setup! It doesn’t cost anything and will get the bones of your new classroom in order. PLUS it includes a shopping list to guide you and keep you from spending every penny in your savings account. This is really the best way to help you nail down exactly how you want your classroom set up to run. Everyone has a different style, and it evolves over time. This course will set you up for an efficient and successful year as you develop your own unique teaching style!
- Build Up your Classroom Library– I have over 500 books in my library. It’s ridiculous, but I can’t say no to a book! A GREAT place to start is your public library. Check to see if they have a book sale. My local library does a sale each month where they sell the books that are older or worn for 25-50 cents each! Yard Sales are another place to catch good deals on books. Finally, thrift stores are almost always a win for cheap books. (psst… when it’s time to pack up, this post has some great info on packing away your library!)
Go ahead and invest in some of these Sterilite bins. You’ll need them for end-of-the-year packing anyway, so get some now and store your Summer Purchases in them. Organize them by section of the room (follow the E-Course Guidelines for the order of classroom setup). This way, your husband won’t be as annoyed with all of your Summer acquisitions that continue to pile up in the house 🙂
Going back to my point about “pre-school” week not allowing much time to plan, this is another item that takes a hit! Some schools schedule their “meet the teacher’ night for the second day of the week! If you are not already prepared, you will be completely stressed out and overwhelmed.
In the next installment of this series, I will go into detail about how to put together a Meet The Teacher night that TOTALLY impresses your parents! First impressions are everything, and the Open House/Meet the Teacher Night will make or break your parents’ confidence in you. As a new teacher, you have something to prove, so make sure you put your best foot forward!
Here’s a sneak peak at the ready-to-go resource pack that I will feature in the Open House post:
I literally combined everything that I actually use in my own classroom, made it prettier, and packaged in all up for you! There are powerpoints, handouts, and resources that you will use ALL YEAR LONG. Seriously, I’ve done the thinking for you. All you will need to do is insert your own info! I’M SO EXCITED TO SHARE IT WITH YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Sorry- that was the coffee kicking in…but I really am excited!)
Okay, that’s enough information for day 1! Here are the points I will leave you with today:
- You WILL get everything done, so breathe!
- Sign in to the Free Classroom Setup Course and begin to work your way through it to develop your ideas about your new classroom.
- Start hunting for books- you can never have too many 🙂
- enjoy your Summer- go to the beach and read a magazine- chill out! I got you.
As always, if you have any questions or want more information about ANYTHING, please contact me or leave it in the comments section. I will get back to you. My goal is to ensure new teachers have the support they need!
Until Next Time! | XOXO
Don’t Miss the Next Installment of the New Teacher Series– click below, enter your e-mail, and you will receive a notification when the new series posts are up! (Don’t Worry- no spam or anything. Ain’t nobody got time for that! I do send out the occasional educational update and Freebies, though! Special goodies just for First Belle members!)
I hope you enjoyed today’s post!