If you are in the fortunate position to have secured a contract for the upcoming academic year, then congratulations! Here are a few pointers to help you get organised!
1. Do you know what class you will have? If so, then start brainstorming some ideas. Especially if you are doing the DIP. I would recommend picking your themes for say September and October, and start gathering/pinning ideas and resources. It’ll take so much pressure off come September when you have the possibility of an inspection looming. I am not saying to spend you summer planning, but rather brainstorm a few ideas at your leisure.
2. Start pinning classroom decors! This is the best part! It would be no harm to start making displays for your maths, English and Irish walls too. I started my dip just after Christmas and did very little over the holidays, and I paid for it in January. It was a long, cold month in that prefab trying to get my displays together after school! It’s well advised to have them done in advance!
3. Gather text books for the age group of the class you will be teaching to give you an idea of the level they’re on, and how to plan accordingly. Again, speaking from experience, if I could go back in time I would have all my weekly and long term plans done well in advance ( allowing for change of course). Starting with a new class is quite over whelming at the beginning, and school life is so hectic at times, it helps to have all the paper work out of the way so you can focus on the day to day teaching and running of your classroom.
4. Managing your classroom: I got a sharp shock when I realised the amount of tasks which have to be done which don’t include teaching. I was so naive! Number one tip? Keep several class lists on your table, (a list of names of the children in your class). It’ll come in handy for keeping track of who has paid for no uniform day, school trips, etc. Then there are seating arrangements, try change them every two weeks to mix it up a bit. Then the issue of uniforms, all children should wear their full uniform every day. Questioning why they aren’t takes up extra precious teaching minutes but has to be done. Not to mention correcting homework. I know lots of teachers have their class self correct, but I am too paranoid to do this! What if they just write in the answers as they you are calling them out? But it’s impossible with those mental maths/English books, as they need them every night so you can’t correct them after school. Talk about stress!
5. If for some reason you get to choose your book list, I would be steering clear of the aforementioned homework books. They do not encourage problem solving or thinking at all. They don’t encourage rough work or ‘figuring’ it out, as the space is so small. It’s just too easy to scribble down any old answer in them. I would much rather giving homework based on what the children are learning in school. Are we learning about decimals? Then I’d rather give ten questions based on decimals, to reinforce that learning. Likewise in English, if we are learning about prepositions, then I’d get them to write a story using as many prepositions as possible. That way, they would have two homework copies, and I could alternate them to correct them! Sorry for the rant, those books have just been irritating me all year!
6. Keep track of repeat offenders who do not do their homework and have consequences in place.
7. I mentioned this in a previous place, but once you find a behaviour management system, stick to that, and only that. If I get a job, I plan on using the humble clip chart, school policy allowing of course!
8. Don’t forget to do the rolla! And use black pen, and do the line the correct way.
9. Keep an incidents notebook in your rolla book. Record any incidents even if they appear minor. E.g. ‘RH fell on yard and complained of a headache’.
10. If you are doing your dip, start organising your folders! One for short term plans, one for long term plans and one for assessment.
11. Just like on teaching practice, have a resource box for your blue-tack, sellotape, stapler, tacks, markers and so on.
12. Keep note of the birthdays of the children in your class, the dates of birth will be in the rolla book.
13. Most importantly of all, establish the class rules from the beginning. Some teachers tolerate more than others would, so you could be viewed as lenient or strict, in comparison to previous teachers. Either way, the children won’t know what is acceptable or unacceptable until you tell them. So make sure they know!
14. The morning routine is the most important as it sets the class up for the day. Begin with a prayer, then local, national and international news, then some written work to calm the children and prepare them for the day ahead. I used to do free writing for thirty minutes each morning. It resulted in some excellent written work, which resulted in our Scholastic ‘We are Writers’ book being published!
15. Staying organised is an integral part of teaching. I had a ring binder folder with headings such as: staff meeting notes, dates to remember, parent/teacher meeting, notes from children, no homework list and class list. Just write everything down lest you forget!
I think that covers everything. There will be a more detailed post regarding the dip and planning, but it is a detailed and lengthy one so it’s taking a while![pb_builder]