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Prior to the Start of the School Year

Author: Steve Hiles

This article is primarily geared for the new teacher facing their first time "flying solo."  The quality of your preparation for the term ahead can make a real difference, not just on the first day of school but all through the coming months.

The most obvious thing you will want to do is to prepare your classroom.  It is not always possible due to issues like last minute cleaning by the schools's janitors, renovations or refurbishments, or building policies.  However, if possible, it can be of great benefit to have spent time in the room before school starts.  It will give you time to really "make it yours."

I suggest that you gain access to your classroom at least 3 to 4 days prior to your having to officially report for work.

The point here is to give yourself sufficient time to organize, arrange and even decorate your classroom, without feeling pressured.  Also, you will want to organize procedures for such things as issuing textbooks and the necessary forms that will need to go home with students on the first day.

Take a seat in your "teacher chair."  Look around you.  What do you see?  The first impression when you sit down for the first time at your desk can provide some important insights.  How do you feel about the room?  Does it feel comfortable, welcoming, and even friendly?  Or is it sterile or forbidding somehow?

Do you have enough light?  Is there a window and does it open?  What do you see outside the room?  How far from the door are you?  Will your students go past you as they enter and exit?  Is there enough space?  Can you shift your desk or reconfigure the students' seating ways that will improve the atmosphere in the room?

Your classroom becomes your "home away from home."  You can put your unique stamp on it.  It will subtly reflect your personality and preferences whether you are conscious of your influence on the room or not.  After all, you are going to spend almost as many hours here as at your home!

All the best,
Steve

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