Use these strategies from a National Board Certified Teacher to enhance your instruction and build a positive climate in your classroom.

After more than 30 years as a teacher, I still have butterflies in my stomach and wobbly knees during first period of a brand new school year. Although your first year of teaching is by far the hardest, all teachers go through the same process to prepare for their students. It’s normal to be a little nervous, because we all want to be effective teachers who are liked by our students. The good news is that there are effective strategies you can put in place to enhance your instruction and lay a positive foundation for the school year.

Setting up your classroom

The first few days of school are stuffed with administrative meetings, so there is little time to set up your classroom. Plan to spend some time after school to get your classroom ready. Also, prepare a couple of instructional bulletin boards to put up. Expect to keep these up for the first nine weeks, since you’ll be busy with other pressing responsibilities.

The first day

Students are nervous on the first days of school, so create a warm and inviting classroom. With a smile on your face, greet your students as they enter your class and help direct them to their seats. Have a class supply desk set up, and be sure to include sign-out sheets for borrowed materials and hall passes.

Realize that you will need to remind students of your expectations on a regular, if not daily, basis.

From Day 1, show your students that the classroom is yours and there are specific behavioral expectations. You can easily set the tone by assigning seats. I like to post the seating chart so that independent students can find their seats, allowing me time to help those who are spatially challenged.

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