Things to Do Before Your First Day as a Teacher
Check out our list of things to do before your first day as a teacher.
Prior to you signing your contract, look it over. Ask questions if you don’t know the language. Does the contract reflect the exact salary, extra duties, and the number of days you will be employed? Save a copy and file it in a safe place at home.
Contact the human resource director or principal and ask for an explanation of your health plan and other benefits. Health plans vary from school district to school district. If you have a variety of plans, you need to be able to make an informed decision. Get a list of questions prior to you calling the principal so you can be sure to ask questions based on your situation.
Set up as many contacts as you can when school begins. Ask the office manager, principals, and other school personnel if you have questions. They are willing to answer all questions.
Ask the office manager the following questions: Where do I get the keys to my room? What is the procedure for obtaining entrance to the building? May I work in the school building on weekends? Where will I find a class schedule?
Become acquainted with the design of the building, where to park, and which door to enter. Before starting school, also become familiar with emergency exits and standard procedures.
Acquaint yourself with the neighborhood surrounding the school. You will learn more about your learners and their families by taking a tour of the area and understanding the school’s territory. This tour will give you an understanding of their lives at home and in their neighborhood prior to you beginning to know them in the school setting.
Ask about the school’s goals, initiatives, and how educators implement professional development plans. Ask another educator if this info is not provided by the school principal or principal or principal. Understanding the strategies and initiatives the school focuses on will help you effectively prepare for the school year. Ask about the info provided to the educators, materials given, and books read by the faculty. If you have this info in advance, you can read and assimilate lessons that support professional development.
Get a calendar detailing official school days and days set aside for professional development seminars, parent-educator conferences, and vacations. Transfer these dates to your planning calendar. Educators often get so involved in surviving daily that they for- get about upcoming events and activities.
Introduce yourself to the janitor. Ask them where the hallway lights are located and other info about the physical layout of the building. Ask the janitor about the heating/cooling of the building and, in particular, in your class. Heat or lack of it in a class can impact learner learning.
Get a list of questions you have and schedule a time to meet with the school principal or dean of students to go over discipline procedures, school district goals, and contractual obligations.
Ask the school principal or dean of students the procedure to take attendance. If the school uses a learner info system, who will teach you to use the program, and who is in charge of troubleshooting? Understanding this prior to the first day of school will give you time to browse the site and get to know the system.
Get an appointment with the school principal or dean of students to discuss how you plan to structure your class management plan. You will get feedback from your discussion, and you will have alerted the principal about your plan. Once you need to discipline a learner, the principal will have prior knowledge about your plan and can support your actions without many questions.
Find out where educators eat lunch if you have lunch duty, where the teacher’s lounge is located, where to find the staff bathrooms, and where to find the faculty mailboxes. Understanding the location of certain places will help you as you navigate around the school.
Get any forms that are given by the office. Ask the office manager which forms you will need. Put the forms in folders in your file cabinet or in your desk drawer. Find out where you put the forms, why you may need them in the class, and who will get the forms once they are filled out. By understanding this info, you will not have to interrupt your school day to ask questions; you already know the answers.
Ask for a mentoring program at your school. Many states and school districts will pair a veteran educator with a first-year educator. If your school has established a system, ask how the program is structured, including the requirements and expectations. A great mentor and an effective program lend support and guidance during an educator’s first professional years.
Ask for sick leave and the procedure for calling in sick. Who do you call? What time does the sub caller or school principal need to know that you won’t be at school? Get a list of telephone numbers of school personnel that you may need to call, and keep a list at home and the other in the car.
Ask if lesson plans must be submitted to the principal. If yes, when should they be submitted? Are they computer generated on a particular program, or can they be handwritten?