Back to school is overwhelming for new teachers. While they will be eager for their first teaching experience, they will also feel anxious about dealing with 24 to 30 students in their classroom. These teachers may have attended classes as students- teachers in their practicum university courses. But, now the scenario is different! The class is their responsibility! Don’t panic! You will do great and you will learn a lot, even more than your have learnt at university while pursuing your major. To help you have a smooth and effective start, consider these 10 tips:
1- Plan, plan and then plan a little more. Plan for students with different academic levels, interests, learning styles and backgrounds. Teachers have to differentiate their planning to keep these students engaged and interested in their session. Consider having students who know everything you planned to address in your classroom. These students will feel bored in your session and will disturb your class if you haven’t planned ahead a challenging material addressed specifically for them.
2- Prepare an if-then list. It is good to jot down the challenges that you may face in the classroom or the questions that your students may ask and your expected solution/ answer for every point. This will help you be ready for the different classroom situations and will give you enough time and space to search and ask for the proper way to deal with each.
3- Ask an experienced teacher, your mentor or your coordinator to share with you their classroom experiences. This will benefit you gaining a better idea about your classroom expectations. Reading theoretical literature of best practices is highly important for a new teacher. However, listening to common school and common classroom teachers will give you adequate insight into the real students you will teach. This is because these teachers know well your students’ cultural and environmental background. Hence, reading literature teachers’ first day best practices and listening to the school teachers’ experiences will let you know where you are going . It is said: “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra
4- Establish your classroom rules and consequences from day one. It is recommended to build these rules with students and make them your reference for the whole year. Your consistency in following up the rules and the consequences is the key element for your classroom management.
5- Prepare all the materials that you may need in the classroom ahead of time. You can have a box for day one and another for day two, if needed. It is crucial to be organized and ready for your session. Students will be aware of all these details and will trust you more when they notice your readiness and organization skills.
6- Get to know your students well from day one. This, helps you revise your plan for next day. You may need to amend in accordance! Don’t worry, this is normal! Your lesson plan must be flexible and you may modify your plans based on your classroom needs and requirements. Also, it is highly recommended to start memorizing your students names from day one. Afterwards, calling them by their names will reveal your care and respect to every individual in your classroom.
7- Give clear instructions and be consistent in making the students follow them. Check this link for the best way to deliver classroom instructions.
8- Introduce yourself in a friendly and smart way. The first impression you give to your students is crucial in building healthy relationship with them. I recommend sharing briefly your academic background. This helps in building trustful and respectful teacher-student relationship.
9- Be ready for plan B especially when it comes to technology. Practice using the school platform and any other needed tool before you come to class.
10- Share with your students your expectations regarding their assignments, assessments, copybooks’ organization, etc. and walk the talk from day one.
Finally, believing in yourself and your abilities will be the biggest aid in all your endeavors.