3 Easy Ways New Teachers Can Organize for Maximum Success Before School Starts
As the new school year begins, most students look forward to joining their new class, and as a new teacher, you hope to make this academic school year as effective for your students as possible. Being a superstar teacher brings to mind engaging your students and upholding your standards, but the truth is that much of your success will actually come from the efforts you make before your students even set foot in the classroom. Staying organized is actually very important and will save you from a lot of headache later on. Here are three organization-related tips to use that will set you and your students up for success before they even set foot into your classroom.
- Arrange your classroom in a way that works best for you and your students.
The set up and layout of the classroom will determine the ease with which the children can move around the classroom. When setting up a classroom, you also want to consider your teaching style. Here are just a few things you should consider when deciding the layout of the classroom.
Teacher’s desk. In the traditional setting, this is one item that is generally kept in the far corner of the room or toward one wall in order to avoid the teacher’s desk being in the middle of high traffic. On the other hand, if your approach to instruction is likely to be more flexible and interactive, you might want to have the teacher’s desk closer to the students’ tables and chairs.
Students’ desks. The layout of students’ desks depends on the kind of interaction that you want with students. For example, for sessions that involve direct instructions, it is best for students to face the front of the room. On the other hand, when you want students to work in groups, it may be better to group students in clusters.
Overhead projector or multimedia projector screen. Remember to keep the screen at a height and angle that allows everyone to see the screen easily. You can make sure of this by sitting in each seat to determine if you can view the screen comfortably from all positions.
Classroom supplies. Keep frequently used items closer to the students. Items used less often can be stored in a cabinet. The pencil sharpener and trash should be kept slightly away from the students to avoid distraction.
Announcement board. Decorate the board to liven up the classroom, as well as to communicate with students about important events during the academic year. Consider these suggestions:
- Make the board colorful with project work that has been completed by students.
b. Put up a “quote of the day” that is relevant, inspirational, and motivating. You may also make this a revolving duty of the students.
c. Allow students to put up pictures of places they visited on a holiday.
- Make sure you have all your supplies handy.
Okay, so now you have decided on the layout of your classroom and feel that you are ready for the new a new batch of students. Not really! There are many other things that you need to prepare before you can feel comfortable about welcoming your new students.
Being an organized teacher will make your life a whole lot easier; trust me. If you have your materials and supplies in one place, you will not have to frantically look for folders or paper clips at the last minute. It will also help your classroom management efforts and decrease the frequency of classroom disruptions and misbehavior. Ensure you have the following supplies:
• Plan books
• Classroom reading books
• Attendance register
• Paper clips
• Grade book
• Rubber bands
• Stapler and staple pins
• Pencil, pens, erasers and pencil sharpeners
• Tapes of different kinds
• Folders and folder tags
Take home packets are also a must for students at the start of the New Year. This packet helps you communicate important information to students and their parents. If you keep parents informed from the beginning, you have made the first step in building strong parent-teacher relationships. Make sure that you include the following in the take home packet.
- Welcome message to parents
• School rules
• Supply list
• Emergency and approval forms to be signed by parents
• Transport rules and bus route
- Organize your cabinets.
From the very beginning of the school year, there is so much paperwork that a teacher needs to keep track of. As a result, your cabinets can quickly look as if though they have been hit by a tornado—overflowing with folders, teaching materials, handmade cards from students, and other supplies. Use these tips to keep your cabinet organized and in order:
- Create a designated place for your material. All folders should be marked and kept in one place. There should also be a separate place for personal belongings.
- Highlight all original copies of master sheets with a yellow colored highlighter, to tell you that this is the master, preventing you from giving it away or losing it.
Label all your files and folders, and mark the worksheets based on the folder that they need to go into. Once you have identified the specific folders that each worksheet goes into, you can ask a student or volunteer to help you with the filing.
- Many times there are some sessions in a year that require more material than others. If you feel that material from one session is crowding your cabinet, try putting all the relevant teaching material into one box. Remember to label it and store it in a cabinet in the classroom. You can then find all the required material ready for use when the time comes.
Then, every three months go through everything in your cabinet and throw away any unnecessary items. When you discard items, put them in a carton labeled as ‘free’ and let everyone know that they can dig around to see if they can use anything. Something that you discard may be useful to someone else.
Bonus tip: Do these during the first week of school to stay in control.
Completion of items on the following checklist will surely help you feel more comfortable, organized, and in control when the horde of excited students appear at your door on the first day of school!
- Prepare class rolls and records
• Create nametags for each child
• Get to know the schedule for each student, including gym, art, library and lunch
• Create a folder that can be used by a substitute teacher in case you are unable to
make it to the school; this should include the daily schedule and seating chart
• Create a file for each student that contains information about the child and
• correspondence from parents
• Develop tentative lesson plans for the next week and place them in a folder
By starting the year off with a bang, you are setting the tone for the rest of the school year. Instead of dealing with classroom management issues, organizational issues, and disgruntled parents, you will be able to enjoy a relatively stress free year. Good luck to you and I hope you have an outstanding year.