You’ve arrived. You’ve stepped off the plane and have entered new territory. This is more than just entering a new classroom. You are in a new country. All of your planning and paperwork to get here has paid off. Now what?!
It’s time to set up your classroom! No matter what country you are in, it’s important to have a plan in place and to set up a system that you are comfortable with. This will allow for great teaching to happen. So go ahead, move in! Make your classroom your own. Make it your space. Whether it’s your homeland or a brave new world, take control of this space. You are teaching in it and need to know both what is available and how you can best use the space for your class.
1. Set the tone of your classroom design
You can do this by having a theme or even a basic color scheme. Hang up some pictures. Have a Famous Author Section or Inspiration Corner and go all out. But it doesn’t need to be overly complicated. You can have the students help with decorations on the first day. You can have a Family Corner where students draw pictures of their family and hang them up and you share about your family too. Simply getting something started will go a long way and will get your new students excited to be in the brand new, shining classroom. You can add to your design as the weeks progress and can always change things up.
2. Post the rules- set the atmosphere
It’s important to let your new students know that your classroom is a place to work. Yes, fun can be had, of course. But the first rule is that your students are there to learn and you are there to teach. It can be a simple poster with 3 rules, such as the following. This will go a long way to getting off on the right foot and keeping control of your classroom.
1. Learn something new every day (which you will be helping them with, the great teacher that you are!)
2. Respect others. Be kind to everyone!
3. Practice, practice, practice!
3. Get to know your students! Practice how you want the class to run
Know in advance that the students will try to test their new teacher. They want to push the boundaries so they can see what is allowed and what’s not. Be firm in the beginning. This is an important truth for any teacher. You can be kind, but definitely be firm. As you get to know your students, let them know the rules. Practice the rules with them on the first day and first few weeks. Have them practice getting quiet as soon as you call for their attention, whether it’s by raising your hand or clapping or saying a key phrase for their attention. Use one method and practice it until the students know it and follow it. Be consistent and firm with your expectations.
These 3 simple ways will help you get your class started for the new school year in a strong way that will pay off for the rest of the year. And your students will thank you for it. It will set the tone for a great new year!