Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New Teacher Tips

My first year teaching I was so excited and nervous at the same time! I remember having so many thoughts run through my mind that I couldn't sleep the night before school! It was like I was a kid again...starting the school year...having the first day jitters!! 
If I had to give advice to a new teacher, here are some things I would share with them...

1. Over plan and be flexible! For the first week of school you are still going to be figuring out your kids and your schedule. Plan a lot of activities, but don't worry if you don't get to them all! It is much more important to establish routines and procedures then it is to stick to your daily schedule.

2. After reading above, there are certain things in your schedule that you must stick to (lunch, specials, etc). These things have specific times where you have to drop your kids off and when you have to pick your kids up. TRUST ME...the day goes by so fast and you barely have time to look at the clock. Have your schedule posted.  You don't need times next to everything in your schedule, because if you don't get to it or if you go over the time, that is fine. However, have times posted next to the lunch and specials and other important events. I use these schedule cards which come with little clocks. I only printed the clocks for certain events. The other parts of my schedule are flexible!
I hang my schedule on my white board which is right in front of the class. It is easy to see and glance at whenever I need it (which I actually need all year haha I rely on this!)

3. Have your behavior management system set up prior to the first day of school. Starting day one you will go over this system with the kids and use it! They will start learning their expectations and they will want to 'please' you! In kindergarten it is important to keep routines/procedures consistent and this is a great way to start!
You can read more about my behavior management system here.

4. Lessons for the first week of school. What do you teach? What should I do? I start off the year teaching rules and I use my Monsters Back to School Activity Pack. It includes lots of letter activities, a book to help start your discussion on classroom rules, a craftivity to help you get to know your students, and more.
But, you can also gather materials like these to use on your own if you can't purchase anything. I think one of the most important things to have ready (to keep your sanity in the mornings) is a coloring sheet out on the tables each day. This way as students come in they can start coloring while you put supplies away, put name tags on, try to get parents to leave, etc.

5. When all is said and done, the most important thing that first week of school is keeping the children safe! My number one concern is making sure I know how they get home from school! At our 'meet and greet' I give each PARENT a clip with their child's name on it. I make THEM clip it to the 'How We Go Home' chart. 
I tell the parents over and over again, this is how they will get home the first day of school! Then after that, they must write a note to change their child's dismissal. At our school I will have kids that are bus riders, but the first 2 days the parents want to pick them up, etc. That is why I only concentrate on one day at a time. I don't worry about what their dismissal will be down the road....only the first day of school! Then if I receive a note in the morning from one of the students, I will just change their clip and I am good to go!! You can find the dismissal chart here

I honestly think I could go on and on with ideas and tips!! If you do have any questions please leave a comment and I will definitely answer them for you!! 
Don't forget to link up below and share your New Teacher Tips!! Even as a 7th year teacher (and I am sure those of you that have been teaching for a lot longer) I can still learn some new tips from ya'll! I can't wait to 'hop' around and read your ideas! 


  1. These are great tips! I am a new teacher, and I am very nervous! Upon student teaching, I went right into being a full time sub with K-1 extended resource students. I will now begin my first teaching position as a resource teacher for grades 2-6. I am questioning if I need to worry about a behavior management plan because I will be going into regular classrooms. I am thinking that I should have some guidelines for if I pull them out, but for the most part I need to go by the regular ed teachers rules. Great post! I am a new follower. :-)

    A Tender Teacher for Special Needs

  2. I would love if you went on and on with tips! I just finished my first year in PreK and I am still learning tons! :) Thanks for the fabulous advice Caitlin, hope you're having a great summer!

    Fun in PreK-1 is Having a Giveaway!

  3. Thanks for hosting this! It was really nice to reflect and think about the things I thought were most important to share with new teachers. And I'm looking forward to reading everyone else's tips too!

    Carolina Teacher

  4. Great tips Caitlin. I agree about getting home safely the first week, I've learned to almost be paranoyed about this over the years ;) Cute way to manage it for yourself! Love for you to also share this on Teaching Idea Tuesday over on Teach Junkie - so great!

  5. Love reading all of your great tips! There's so much to plan but reading this is helping me prioritize what need to plan and prepare first! Also, I'm definitely adding your Monsters back to school activities to my wish list!

    Cheers To School

  6. Hello caitlin I love your blog. This is going to be my first year teaching. I am teaching kindergarten and Im really nervous. What do you do the first week of school.

  7. P.S. What does your daily schedule look like? I know you mentioned you do writer's workshop separate from D5, so I wondered what that looked line in your day. :)

    Fun in PreK-1 & Kinder

  8. Hey there! So, do you have any advice for a teacher starting for the second half of the school year? The district I will be working for just received approval to hire more Kindergarten teachers. Therefore, I will be starting in January with a newly put together class of students. They are being pulled from the 3 other Kindergarten classes in the school. So, they have had routines and expectations set for the year by another teacher. I am a new hire, and I have to set up a classroom as I see fit. Any tips or ideas are greatly appreciated!

    Thank you!