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Getting Ready for the First Day of School: For Teachers

How to Get Ready for the First Day of School

How to Get Ready for the First Day of School: for Teachers

How to Get Ready for the First Day of School: for Teachers

Back to School Help for Teachers

The first day of school for a teacher is the most crucial day of the school year. It is the day that sets the precedence for the rest of the year, which can be nerve racking to say the least. If you are prepared, all will be well.

Here are some tips and ideas of how to prepare for the first day of school as a teacher.

First Day of School Clothes


Before the school year starts, choose or buy an outfit that is not only appropriate for the school setting but also shows your students that you are an adult in charge. While it won’t necessarily solve all problems, it will give you the look of an authority figure. Appropriate clothing items would be business–like clothing, dress shirts, dress pants, suits, ties, blouses, knee-length skirts, etc. Avoid denim, low cut/high cut clothing, patterns that are too flashy, t-shirt material, or anything else that could make you seem more like a college student and less like a professional.

What to Wear on the First Day of School

First Day of School Paperwork : Seating Charts, Grading Policy, Etc.


It’s very important to have everything ready, including all necessary papers you plan to give to your students. Have your lesson plans, seating charts, classroom rules/guidelines, grading policy and letter to parents printed and sorted. I would keep my lesson plans, grading policy, and classroom guidelines in a binder near my desk for any administrator that needed to see it. I kept my seating charts on my desk or on my podium. For the students, I organized copies of the classroom guidelines, grading policy, a letter to parents and a new, sharpened pencil and placed them in folders which were placed on the students’ desks.

Letter to Parents on First Day of School

Getting the Classroom Ready for the First Day of School


Having the classroom in order is essential for a good start. Start with the items that use the most space: the students’ desks and the teacher desk. How do you want these arranged? The students’ desks depend on a few things: the number of students in each class, the subject you teach and your teaching style. As for me, I always started out the year with the desks in rows, often pairings of two desks. It was easiest to work with in the beginning, especially since I often had thirty to thirty-five students per class. It also set up a familiar pattern for students. I didn’t change the desk arrangement, for group work or literature reading, until the students had some time to get used to the classroom rules and proper classroom behavior.

The teacher’s desk is another issue. It’s a large piece of furniture, so it is a bit difficult to maneuver and place in a classroom. For most teachers, it is in the front of the class or in the back of the class. I liked to place my desk in the front of the room off to the side where I could have a little secure teacher nook, oversee my students and have the door leading to the hallway in my sights. Also, with it being on the side and not in the middle, I am able to have a larger ‘stage’ where I could move around as I taught. Place it where you feel comfortable, where you know your items are easy to access (yet not too easy for students to grab!).

For the rest of the furniture items in your classroom (bookshelves, filing cabinets, etc), it may depend where you have extra space. For example, I kept my three filing cabinets in the back corner of my room, in a ‘dead’ space near the second white board. In that manner, they were out of the way of any student desks, yet I was still able to store my files in a secure place that I had within my sights from my desk.

When you consider decorating the room, remember one thing: students can be distracted by almost anything. Try not to put too much in your room, including posters. If you are going to hang posters, keep them at a minimum and make sure they are worth the time your students will be viewing them. What does that mean? It means to buy or make posters that meet the standards in your curriculum. I had posters with fun reminders about grammar, spelling or writing. I also included some posters that made the students think: posters with quotes or inspiring messages about learning and being true to themselves. Other than posters, other items with which to decorate include: curtains, mobiles, figurines, lighting, pictures, globe, etc. Again, remember not to make things too distracting. I added a few things, like pictures, a painting, and sheer curtains to give my classroom a bit of a homey feel.

Classroom Decorations: Bulletin Boards

Teaching the First Day of School : Have Courage


Last, but certainly not least, is how you present yourself as the teacher that first day. It takes a lot of courage to stand in front of a young audience and guide and lead them on a daily basis.

A week before school begins, prep yourself. Think about what you’ll say as students walk through your door. When it is time to begin class, what will be their cue? How are you going to introduce yourself? How will you transition into a lesson? How will you close the class? These are all very important things to consider and practice ahead of time so that when these moments arise, you are as cool as a cucumber. You may still be nervous on the inside, but after practicing how you would run your classroom, you are able to meet all challenges with ease.

First Day of School as a Teacher

On the first day of school, I was required to meet the students at the door, so I was not able to be with them in the classroom as they arrived. To keep them from just walking around, I set up a PowerPoint with slides that said “Welcome! Please take your seat and wait quietly for class to begin.” Once everyone had arrived, I walked in, said my good mornings, and took attendance and lunch count. By making the students wait for my introduction until those important tasks were done, I was teaching them how to be still and wait for me to run things. When I was finished, I began my introduction, which was also accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation. I spoke about myself, my class, the room, my guidelines and my expectations.

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At the end of each class, my closure was reviewing with the students how the class ran and what my expectations were for them the very next day. I would remind them to arrive on time, sit quietly in their seats and begin their opening assignment without my prompting. Class would begin as soon as I came in from hall duty.

Icebreaker Activities

Have a Great Start to the Year!

The first day of school for teachers can be nerve-racking, but if you are prepared, you will set a positive tone for a smooth school year.



LearnFromMe (author) on July 26, 2012:

Greg, I've heard about that book, but I've never read it. Time to start I guess! Thanks for reading and commenting!

Greg Horlacher from Grand Prairie, TX on July 24, 2012:

I love that you review the class at the end of every day, and set the next day's expectations. I'm stealing that. A great resource for teachers is Harry Wong's The First Days of School. I reread it before every school year even though I pretty much have it memorized.

LearnFromMe (author) on July 09, 2012:

Talisker, thanks for reading and sharing your experience!

Honor Meci from UK on July 06, 2012:

You're absolutely right! My first meetings with each class went well, but on my first ever assembly, I conducted the whole thing in a jumper with creases all over it. Call it youth, (I didn't even realise until one of the older teachers let me know subtly after singing my praises.....Iron your jumper next time!!!)

LearnFromMe (author) on August 23, 2011:

RedElf, it's really important to have a great first day. It makes things better for both the teacher and students as the tone is set for management and classroom activities. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

RedElf from Canada on August 22, 2011:

The first day really does set the tone for what your students can expect from you. You have set out a comprehensive guideline.

LearnFromMe (author) on August 22, 2011:

Thanks, jraphaelson, for stopping by and reading this! I hope that in these next few weeks when schools open for the school year that some teachers, especially new teachers, find some useful information here.

jraphaelson from Upstate, NY on August 22, 2011:

Great tips!

LearnFromMe (author) on August 03, 2011:

It takes so much work, Phil Plasma, for a teacher to prepare for that first day of school. Most of us begin in July to get ready. When people say, "You're so lucky with the summers off" I'd always think 'Yeah right!'. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

Phil Plasma from Montreal, Quebec on August 03, 2011:

It has been a long time since I was a student - from what I'm reading here there is a lot more work for the teacher to prepare for the first day.

LearnFromMe (author) on August 02, 2011:

sholland10, thanks for the vote! Preparing for the first day and being confident in yourself does certainly set the stage for the rest of the year. :)

Susan Holland from Southwest Missouri on August 02, 2011:

Great hub! The first day of school is the most crucial of the year, and preparaton is key. Whatever happens on that first day will set the stage for you and the kids. You will either have a good year or a bad year. Going in strict and loosening up later is what most of us have to do. Voted up and useful!

Welcome to HubPages!! :-)

LearnFromMe (author) on August 02, 2011:

Esmeowl12, I'm glad you do the same things! And I agree: brighter bulletin boards for elementary students are essential. Thanks for commenting!

LearnFromMe (author) on August 02, 2011:

nl.quyen, I hope your teacher friend can find some useful tips here. Thanks for passing it along to her!

LearnFromMe (author) on August 02, 2011:

Teresa Jemio, thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. Perhaps someday I will consider being a teacher educator! ;)

LearnFromMe (author) on August 02, 2011:

karasms, the welcome PowerPoint made such a difference when I implemented it my third year. It caught the students' attention and gave them a directive without needing my presence. Thanks for reading!

LearnFromMe (author) on August 02, 2011:

randomcreative, I'm glad you think these tips are great for all teachers. Thanks so much!

Cindy A Johnson from Sevierville, TN on August 02, 2011:

I applaud this tips. I have used them all myself. The one thing I might add is that when teaching in an elementary classroom, the brighter the bulletin boards and posters on the walls the better. Voted up and useful.

nl.quyen from Vietnam on August 02, 2011:

Useful tips! My friend (a new teacher) will like it when i give this post to her.

Teresa Jemio on August 01, 2011:

I really enjoyed reading your advice for the first day. I think you would be an excellent teacher educator.

karasms from NC on August 01, 2011:

Great advice! I love the PowerPoint idea!

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 01, 2011:

Great tips for all teachers!

LearnFromMe (author) on August 01, 2011:

Matt Stark, thanks for reading my hub and leaving your comment!

Matt Stark from Albany, CA on August 01, 2011:

Preparation is key. Thanks for the great hub. Welcome!

LearnFromMe (author) on August 01, 2011:

Yes, it can make a huge difference for the entire year. Thanks for commenting on my hub and for the welcome, Rochelle Frank!

Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on August 01, 2011:

Sounds like you know how to get them started on the right foot. It can certainly make a difference for the entire term. Welcome to HubPages.

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