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Planning for your first day at school

By Charles Hopkins Published 06/2/2006 | Education

You may be a very experienced teacher, but the first day at school can always throw up surprises. The only way you can handle it is by being well prepared. A good practice is to keep a diary where you can jot down your difficult moments. Reading through the diary before the school reopens can help you prepare much better.

It will remind you as to what you did when you felt unprepared. You should always carry a personal kit containing things like a pair of scissors, needle and thread, safety pins and various sundry items. These are not necessary for you to become a good teacher but they come handy when situations demand immediate action especially if you are going to teach the kindergarten classes.

Before the school starts, get familiar with the school. The principal or a senior teacher can take you on a quick tour of the school to show important landmarks such as cafeteria, media center, health center, audio-visual equipment room etc. It is important to know your own school, instead of turning around for help every time you want to send a child on an errand.

Every school has its own history and problems and policies. Review the policies and procedures so that you can perform in the best manner. Make friends with the school support staff. They're the best friends a new teacher can have. Establish a good rapport with your colleagues.

The classroom reflects the personality of the teacher. Moreover, when you have to spend the better part of the day in the classroom, make it to your liking. Well designed bulletin boards add color to the classroom. You must make sure that the bulletin board displays the required information regarding the day's schedule, objectives, class assignments, homework, upcoming events etc.

You should keep supplies like crayons, pencils, construction paper etc handy. You never know when a child may need it. Also, keep pens, markers, a stapler and staples etc. ready for use. It always pays to be well organized. Post your name, room number, and the grade or class you teach, both inside the classroom and outside the classroom door to help the parents.

Establishing rapport and a good working relationship with parents is essential for any teacher, but it's especially important to the first-year teacher, whose inexperience may be an issue for some parents. So, find time and speak to those parents who may want to meet you. You may note down the phone numbers and addresses of those parents whose children suffer from any disability or need medication. Your assurance that you will take care of their child will go a long way in building your name.

And on the first day make it a point to greet all students and to introduce yourself. You must also put up a big welcome board. You can put up some balloons and buntings in the classroom if your school allows. This will set the mood.

Welcome the children with a smile and assure them of a great year ahead. You will find that the remaining year becomes a much more pleasant affair.