A follower who was being offered a job three days before school started asked me this question:
“Help! My job starts in three days… how in the world do I make this happen? I’m totally lost on where to start!”
Here’s my answer.
First days of school on fast forward
“Michelle, here is my best advice for this situation. Summed up: “Get through the first week!” That will be all you can wrap your head around anyway and after that you'll start to get into the swing of things. So… what does that mean?
“Don't stress about decorations. Just get some name tags on the desks. Then be honest with your students. Tell them your situation and that you are relying on them to help you get the room in shape. They'll love helping you out with anything:
- Organizing supplies or books
- Rearranging desks
- Putting up posters or signs
“Who cares if it's perfect?! Just get it done and adjust as you go. Tell them that the classroom will be decorated with their assignments. You'll be able to get them on your side right away… all kids want to like their teacher and they love to do things for people they like.”
Get a Day 1 plan in place.
“Day 1 is going to be about procedures and expectations. I have a lot of information on my site about setting expectations and establishing classroom rules if you have questions about that. You can start with my ‘first days of school' articles here:
“I also recommend using my ‘first day' packet of activities and/or my ‘first day' poster. You can find them in my store:”
Get through the first week
“After day one, work on assessing what levels they are at so you know if they are ready to start with grade-level curriculum or if they'll need some refreshing. Ask teaching partners for year-end review sheets that were given for the prior grade level before they took their tests.
“Also, until you get on your feet and have lessons planned, get some ‘fillers' ready to go. That includes at least one read-aloud book for each day along with some questions for them to demonstrate understanding. Focus on community-building books, such as I list here:
“Then go on TpT or look through my store for some worksheet sets and other basic review items, just to be sure they won't have any time to get bored.”
“So with that plan, you'll be set to make it through the first week. There will be lots of other activities such as school assemblies and art and fitness and library etc. that will fill time as well.
“Then you can take a deep breath and start diving into your “real” lesson planning! Start with these articles:”
Does it sound simple?
No! It's super stressful to get ready in a short time frame. But with a step-by-step plan, you can at least channel your stress effectively!