I used to feel quite anxious about starting to teach classes in the new school year. I learned to prepare for the new school year by taking certain steps.  I’d like to share a post I wrote earlier about what I do to help me prepare for that first week of classes.


The first day of school is fast approaching, and I really need to start to  think about getting ready for it.  I’ve been teaching for a while so there have been many first days, and I’m pleased  to say ( actually I’m quite relieved to say ) that I’ve found steps to take that make that first day and that first week a success. That first week is so important because it sets the  tone for the rest of the semester.
I’m going to remind myself of what to do to have a successful first day and first week by reviewing the strategies I use for each step.  I invite you to review each step  with me, so just click on the link I’ve provided in each step.

Step 1- Reduce Stress

Just thinking about  the first day of school itself can be stressful,  but it needn’t be.      Here’s why.

Step 2- Think positively

Think positively. If you have a positive attitude you’ll believe and act as if all students will be successful in your class. If you have a positive attitude there are no losers in your classroom despite what you’ve might have heard. Students will live up to your expectations. Think and act as if students are trouble, believe me they won’t disappoint you. Here’s why.

Step 3- Remember the nine lessons your students taught you about classroom management

Your students will tell you by their behaviour what they like and don’t like all you have to do is ask them. Here’s what my students told me.

Step 4- Create the class rules or agreements collaboratively

Create the classroom agreements together and students are more likely to buy into them.  Here’s how I do that and the Slideshare Video I use to review our agreements.

Step 5- Remember respect in the classroom is a two way street

Step 6- Get your students   to tell you how they feel about different aspects of school

Remember respect is a two way street going from the teacher to the student and from the student to the teacher.  As much as I would like it to be, respect for teachers  isn’t always automatic.  It must be earned. Here’s what I do.

Step 6- Get students to tell me how they feel about different aspects of school

It’s good to get students to reflect about different aspects of school in and out of the classroom.  The information that I get from these questionnaires help me better understand my students and informs my interactions with them.  I ask these questions.

Step 7-  Realize that a students emotional state will affect a student’s learning and behaviour

Realize that the emotional state of a student can thwart learning.  Consider this.

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10 Responses to “Steps to take to prepare for the first day of school”

  1. Tracy Rosen on August 11th, 2008 4:09 pm

    Hi Elona,
    It’s great that you have compiled everything here in one spot – makes it easy to access as I prepare for the new year.
    2 more weeks…

  2. Elona Hartjes on August 12th, 2008 6:12 pm

    Thanks Tracy. I hoped that by compiling everything I would make it easier for people to access information if they were interested in the topic.Time is just flying!

  3. Tracy Rosen on August 26th, 2008 5:42 am

    Elona – time is flying indeed! I’m about to go in for the first PED day of the year. We are one week from kids! I don’t feel quite anxious enough yet. I’m sure some sort of panic will start to sift in over the course of this week 🙂

    I’ll be meeting my students parents tonight – and maybe some of my students as well. Though we won’t actually divide them up into classes until after our first day together (an activity day) and we can see them and interact with them live.

    Are you back this week?

  4. Elona Hartjes on August 26th, 2008 9:00 am

    School for the kids starts after Labour Day. I’m going in today to start to get things in order. I like to have the first week’s activities all ready to go so I’ll be setting up the class blog and getting the handouts photocopied and making certain we have all the supplies for the activities I’ve planned. I can’t count on my kids coming prepared so I’ll have to be prepared for them. It’s all very exciting.

  5. Mathew on August 26th, 2008 12:37 pm

    Thank you for breaking it down in a way that makes it all less intimidating. I also notice that none of the steps have to do with repapering the walls or putting up matching borders but focus on the emotions of the incoming students.

  6. Elona Hartjes on August 26th, 2008 4:30 pm

    I just love the way you always cut to the chase. 🙂

  7. Creating Lifelong Learners » Blog Archive » First Day of School Activities on September 1st, 2010 6:52 pm

    […] Article: Reviewing the Steps to Take Before Starting the Year […]

  8. First Day of School Activities | Creating Lifelong Learners on August 30th, 2011 7:48 am

    […] Article: Reviewing the Steps to Take Before Starting the Year […]

  9. Litsa on September 8th, 2013 3:19 am

    My classroom lessons begin tomorrow (9/9/13) and this article was just the reminder I needed for a good start.
    All the best!!

  10. Lauren Quigley on November 18th, 2013 2:31 pm

    Thanks so much for this post. As a soon to be teacher I find your blog really helpful.
    In my student teaching I loved seeing teacher creating rules for the classroom with their students, the students really seemed to appreciate being a part of the decision making process. I am bookmarking your site so that I can look everything over again before I start my own classroom!

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