Let me introduce you to teacher Raymi, a close friend and an ex co-worker. She has 18 years of experience in the field of education, especially with the grades from preschool to third grade. Right now she is working as a primary coordinator, sharing her amazing skills. Who else, could be the person to teach and model to other teachers how to structure the teaching role and keep the energy going, working in these precious ages? She definitely knows her stuff, and I had the great opportunity to share a classroom with her. I asked if she could just write a few recommendations for all the teachers in these first months of school and, kindly she accepted, sharing her knowledge and encouraging more teachers in this amazing road.
“What you do on the first days of school will determine your success for the rest of the school year”
- The First Days of School by Harry Wong
Alright, so you survived the first weeks of the school year, you got to know your kids and now it’s time to tweak your plans and move some chairs and desks around. As a teacher, I always felt like this first month of school was a bit of a guessing game. You might set up your room the way it was last year, you might even decide to go with the same Back-to-School plan you used before, because it’s just so practical and then you realize, this group is not like last year’s and your plan just won’t do. Don’t worry, you’re not alone!
Having an organized classroom with clear procedures is just as important as having your plans ready. The classroom is your assistant, use it, take advantage of the space you were given. Use your imagination, but don’t forget, it must have purpose; it must help you and your students throughout the learning process. We begin the school year with a heavy dose of procedures and reminders on behavior concerns. The rest of the school year lies ahead and we can’t wait to get started. We plan assignments, centers, projects, and other creative ways to get the students interested in a variety of subjects and topics. Sometimes all these exciting plans make us forget how important it is to reinforce procedures and they tend to be left behind. Take the time to go over them as many times as necessary. Believe me, they’ll learn the stuff and you’ll get to do all those cool and stimulating activities you have in store for them.
Now wait a second, does this mean you’re not going to start teaching your plans because you have to go and on about procedures? No, it only means that when you plan your activities, you should take the time to include a reminder for a procedure. Some of the most commonly used ones are:
- Arrival/ Morning Activities
- How to work in the classroom
- How to work in groups
- Bathroom and water breaks
- Passing materials around (papers, notebooks, etc.)
- Getting materials from the backpack, cubby or locker
- Asking for help
- Speaking during discussions
- How to sit on the carpet (if you have one)
- Seating arrangements
- How to line up
- Transitions between classes
You might even need a new procedure next week or next month or 5 months from now, because of a situation that never happened before, it’s ok, introduce it to your kids and practice it. The key here is consistency. You’ll be ok and so will they. Have a great year everyone!
p.s: In the bottom some procedures pictures when I was teaching.
By: Raymi Royo