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July 1, 2019

First Day of School: A Checklist for Teachers

Are you ready for the first day of school? You may be excited and nervous as the day approaches, and it’s easy to lose track of all that you need to do, to bring, and to know in order to start off the school year the right way.

Take a look at the following sections to identify what you still need for the first day. Use it as a starting point for a checklist.

Set Academic and Personal Goals

What do you want to accomplish this year? Maybe you’d like to develop your skills in a certain capacity, such as by becoming a mentor for new teachers or starting a new after-school program. Or you might want to learn a new technology that you can introduce to your students to deliver higher-quality instruction.

Make an effort to identify some goals and then map out how you’ll follow through. For instance, if you’d like to better tailor your class to individual students, you can take some steps to learn as much as you can about your students’ strengths and weaknesses. Part of that involves building parent engagement, which is easy to overlook.

Note that there’s a difference between personal and required goals. Make sure you’re doing everything you can to meet the requirements of your district, such as by completing needed professional development courses. That’s also a powerful way to meet your personal goals, such as if you’d like to advance your salary. Learn more by looking up certification requirements for your state.

Document and Rehearse Behavioral Expectations

Maybe you’ve been there, struggling with that one student who always tended to disrupt your class.

That can ruin a lesson. If the behavior continues without the proper classroom management plan, it can lead to problems throughout the school year. Curbing disruptive behavior involves preventing issues before they start, and it’s possible through methods like positive communication with students’ families and appropriate intervention strategies.

Make sure you set the tone for the school year. By setting expectations with students and their families, you can take a proactive approach by helping everyone work toward the same goal. Take some time to practice what you’ll say, how you’ll say it, and what you’ll do if things don’t go as expected. Write your plan so you’ll have it as the school year progresses.

Determine Seating Arrangements

How you set up your classroom can actually determine how effective learning can be.

Should you go with traditional rows and columns? What about horseshoes and group setups? There are a lot of options, and you can match specific desk setups to your goals. Learn how you can maximize learning through effective classroom seating arrangements for more on this important — and at times confusing — topic.

Prepare to Meet Children and Parents

It’s tough to overstate the importance of meeting children and parents. This is the time when you’ll cement expectations, provide a welcoming atmosphere, and discuss goals.

Highlight what you want to accomplish during this time. Note items like questions you have for the parents, goals you’d like to go over, and specifics about communication. Spend some time planning out the specifics so everyone is on the same page.

Ensure You Have Supplies Ready

Of course, you’ll also need to take stock of classroom supplies. Here are a few links to supply lists for each major school level.

As you get ready for the first day of school, take a moment to reflect more broadly on how you’ll meet your students’ educationally.

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