Things to do for preparing for the first day of school: organizing paperwork, finding and prepping classroom materials, writing lesson plans…the list goes on and on.
Every teacher is currently feeling the stress of the upcoming first day of school. And, preparing a school classroom can sometimes be overwhelming. With a list of things to do that is a mile long, it can be a hassle deciding where to start.
From writing a welcome letter for the students and parents to drawing up lesson plans, most teachers are exhausted before they even start with their back-to-school preparations. And, thinking about this first day back can leave many teachers feeling out of sorts. With so many things to consider and tasks to accomplish, many wonder where to even get started.
And, while a Google search will yield hundreds of planning options and ideas, it can be daunting. So, here are some guidelines that will fit every classroom need. From large classes at a university to smaller K-5 classes, no teacher should start their back-to-school planning without first reading this.
Creating and Keeping Classroom Etiquette
Good manners and classroom etiquette should be common sense for most students. However, there are simple things that you can do as a teacher to help your students be more courteous to others.
FOR THE TEACHER:
Get to know your students before that first day back. If you need to, find their class picture from last year so you can know what they look like. Then, memorize their name and face. Every student is sure to feel shocked and pleased that you know who they are. They are also more likely to behave well when they know you are that observant.
Make your classroom environment engaging. From bulletin board decorations to names on desks, make sure to capture each student’s attention as they enter your room. Take time with your decorations so that they are neat and uniform. Doing this will help students stay focused and add to your teaching methods.
Greet every student, every day. While this may at first seem daunting, your students are sure to see your effort to make them feel welcome. And with this comes the respect for your ability to see them as individuals. Some teachers go as far as creating secret handshakes with every student. While you don’t need to take that much time, make sure every student knows you respect them as a person.
Set expectations and classroom rules. Then, write them down and put them somewhere that the students can see them daily. By having your rules visible, it is easy to refer to them when a student steps out of line. And, with visibility comes conformity. Students are more likely to follow rules to which they have quick access.
So, keep your students in line and respectful in your classroom by using these guidelines every day. And, remember when you show them respect, they are more likely to show you respect. Common sense isn’t so common anymore, but with these simple rules, your students will help you and themselves to maintain your classroom etiquette.
FOR THE STUDENT:
It is, after all, your education. Take responsibility for it. And, make sure that you are learning everything you can. Yes, sometimes it is hard to pay attention to classroom instruction, especially when you think you know what is going on. But, it is important to remember you are not the only student there. Here are some quick guidelines to follow as a student to help be more respectful in your classroom.
(Your teacher will thank you for reading this!)
Attend class, every time and on time. Start your school day off on the right foot by getting to class on time. Not only will this help you, but it will help your teacher and other students as well.
Speak in turn and only when acknowledged. Your teacher asks you to raise your hand for a reason. If everyone in the class decided to all talk at the same time, the room would fill with voices. And, once that happens, everyone soon thinks that they must speak louder to be heard. So, make sure you only talk when you get permission. It will help with the volume in the classroom, and it will also make sure you stay on task.
Respect your teacher and your classmates. Yes, everyone in your classroom deserves your respect. From the janitor to your teacher and the principal, respect is the key to have a great school experience. Remember to show others the same respect that you want to receive. It goes both ways, so show respect to earn respect.
Come to class prepared and have your homework ready to turn in. It’s that simple. Don’t show up to class without your books, pencil, note-taking paper and especially your homework. Your teacher assigns homework so that you can learn. Respect them and do your homework and get it in on time.
From raising your hand to keeping a working pen in your bag, as a student, you have tremendous responsibility for the quality of your education. So, remember that what you do in class affects you and everyone around you. Respect, preparation and basic good etiquette are a must to make the most out of your school year.
Pro Tip #1: Write Down Everything
Any time you think of anything you need, something you need to add to lesson plans or anything else, WRITE IT DOWN. While this may seem a simple task, it is your greatest tool. With so many things to remember and do, writing down your tasks is important. Keep a notebook or planner handy, and make sure to keep it neat. Don’t trust yourself to remember everything. Your brain is currently on overload, and you may overlook necessary things you need for your classroom.
So, take a moment every time you think of something that needs to be done and write it down. Free up your brain for more important tasks and things you are working on immediately. And, by writing everything down the moment you think about it, will give you a hand up for next year. Keep this notebook as a reference for every first day back you have. So, whether your thought is that you need more crayons or that your lesson plans for your chemistry class need to be updated, write it down!
From name tags to ribbons, we have all your classroom needs!
With as many choices as we have for these name badges, we’re sure to have what you’re looking for! Use adhesive name badges for the new students as name tags on their desks to make them feel welcome. Customize a Mighty Badge for each of the hall monitors. Or use a name badge as your hall pass. With magnetic fasteners, it will be easy just to have the student attach the badge to their shirt, and you’ll never lose another hall pass.
And, don’t underestimate badge holders. While they aren’t quite in this product category, they are instrumental in schools. This simple way of displaying credentials is as convenient as they come. The lightweight vinyl allows for everything to be seen through them. You can add pictures, schedules, names and so much more. Use them for students, teacher and visitors.
Whether it’s for a new teacher in your school or a way to identify different grades, badge ribbons are here to be the best solution ever. With double-sided tape ready to stick to anything (like a name tag), these ribbons are super easy to use. Great for labeling things in the classroom, these ribbons are incredibly versatile.
Use them as labels when storing classroom supplies like markers or crayons. Or, give them to students as you are trying to learn all the new names for this school year. So, no matter what you need these wonderful ribbons for, they are perfect for nearly everything!
Whether it’s hundreds or thousands, it doesn’t matter how many kids are coming back to your school this year. Security is always an issue. Yes, there are name tags and photo ID badges for the teachers. But how do the children keep their things safe and secure?
Lanyards are a convenient way of displaying identification and other things while at school. And these lanyards don’t have to be boring. Choose from a variety of colors to match your school and mascot!
These lanyards are also perfect for fundraising events, sporting meets, and any other time your school gets together. Help your students stand out from the rest with bright colors, logos and messages custom imprinted on these lanyards.
Pro Tip #2: Emergency Folder
Every teacher, at some point in their career, will need to use a substitute. Whether it’s for a personal day or to take a continuing education class, you will need a sub. So, make it easy for them to function in your classroom.
Make sure that you have an emergency substitute folder already in place by the first day of school. There will come a time when an unforeseen circumstance arises, and you may not be able to have time to leave the substitute lesson plans. In this packet include: quick lessons, worksheets, class list, schedule and routine, behavior management plan, school policies and procedures, important student information such as food allergies and teaching colleagues’ contact information. Always keep this packet on your desk in case of an emergency. This is something quick and easy that you can do before school even starts.
In your packet, welcome the substitute to your classroom and provide them with a map of the room. Tell the sub in this letter what your room rules are and the punishments that go with breaking a rule. This way, the sub doesn’t need to rely on the students for this information.
Also, make sure that the sub has access to pictures and names of students. Help your substitute feel like they belong in your classroom. Give them all the daily tools that you usually have so they can feel adequate in their teaching abilities.
Pro Tip #3: Preparing the Classroom
From desk placement to student homework, there is a place for everything. So, make sure you know where that place will be by creating an organized space. Once you have an organization plan, write it down. By doing this, you will help the students in your classroom know where things go and you will stay organized.
And, don’t forget to decorate. Use posters, banners, ribbons and other tools to make your classroom a pleasant place for learning. Don’t go overboard, but make sure that your classroom is inviting and stimulating.
Be purposeful with posters and bulletin boards. As teachers, we often make the mistake of feeling proud of ourselves for making awesome-looking, themed posters or bulletin boards, but then never referring to them with our students. Posters and bulletin boards are only as effective as the teacher who uses them. That said, posters and bulletin boards can be an awesome way to invest your students so long as you make sure to refer to and update them regularly. For student work boards, this is really easy if you use sheet protectors, which can also be used as whiteboards by sticking a piece of paper in them.
Now, it’s your turn in your classroom.
Take these tips and tools and make them your own. Make your classroom a place where every student can learn. By doing so, you will touch the lives of those around you. Go forth and be the best teacher you can be!