Reflection: Classroom Setup The First Day of School! - Section 2: Guided Notes + Practice


As a new teacher the first day of school was one of the scariest moments of my life. Even though I had a full lesson planned, I still had no idea what I would do when a room of 30 students was in front of me. I did not understand then how the presentation of my classroom and how the decisions that I made would follow me for the rest of the school year. 

I have had many first days of school since then, but can admit that I still feel a little nervous before meeting my students for the first time each year. I am able to circumvent most of these feelings of anxiousness by anticipating classroom scenarios and to predetermine how to respond in each situation:

  • What should students do if their pencil breaks? 
  • What is the expectation for students who are not in full uniform? How will I respond?
  • What if a student is not feeling well and wants to put their head on the desk?
  • What if a student is disruptive?
  • What if two students are quietly talking during class? How will I respond? Should I stop teaching to address this?
  • How do I want students to turn in their papers to me?
  • How do I expect students to enter the classroom when they are late?
  • What if a student needs to leave the classroom to go somewhere in the building, (other than the restroom)? When can students leave the classroom?
  • What do I want students to do when the announcements come on, or if we have a fire drill?
  •  What do I want students to do if they forget to grab their materials as they walk in the door?
  •  What do I want students to do if they have to blow their nose in the hallway?

This list is not conclusive, and may feel overly tedious for some. Additionally, it is impossible to anticipate the many different scenarios that can occur in your classroom throughout the course of the year. However, this deep preplanning takes a lot of the worry and guesswork out of each day. It also takes the element of surprise out of the equation and allows me to remain calm and cool and collected at all times. When I enter my classroom with a clear action plan, I feel more confident and in control. Students can sense my confidence as a teacher, so the more together that I am, the more the students will be. 

Before the start of each school year I also reevaluate my prexisting systems and routines. As the leader of a group of children, it can be very easy to develop a power complex.  As the teacher you do have the power to create as many rules, systems, routines, and consequences as you choose - but are the systems that are created in place for a meaningful purpose other than my own personal preferences or pet-peeves? If I want students to use a particular hand signal, Is this the most effective way for students to communicate with me? Is this system simple and easy enough for students to remember every time they are in my room? What would an appropriate consequence be for that if they don't do it? Am I asking students to do things that are age-appropriate? What is my reasoning behind every procedure?

  Expecting the Unexpected
  Classroom Setup: Expecting the Unexpected
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The First Day of School!

Unit 1: Welcome Back! - The First Week of School
Lesson 1 of 2

Objective: SWBAT prepare for a successful year in Algebra 1.

Big Idea: Students learn classroom expectations and practice classroom procedures that will be used throughout the school year.

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