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For the New Teacher


About this Daily Classroom Special
For the New Teacher was written by Pam Tyrrell, a teacher at Jefferson Montessori Campus, Dayton, Ohio. Designed to aid entry level teachers, topics focus on issues and concerns commonly expressed by the neophyte teacher. For more new teacher oriented articles, make sure to check out New Teachers Online.

Beginnings--Getting It Together

The new academic year can be formidable, even for the most seasoned teaching veteran. Entry year teachers have many exciting decisions to make, and often get so caught up in the details that critical decisions get lost in the shuffle. Before you take that first step into your classroom, start a preparation checklist:

1. What furniture would you choose to include?
Sometimes you must make do with whatever was left by the previous teacher, but many districts have paths which will lead you to furniture options. Do you need desks and chairs? Trapezoid, kidney, round or rectangular tables? File cabinets? A teacher's desk? Swivel chair on wheels? Bookshelves? Using your imagination, design the "perfect" classroom for YOU! Once you get to your school, talk with the custodian and secretary. They often have the greatest insight on how to get what you want.

2. What materials will you need, and where do they come from?
Textbooks and workbooks may have been placed in your classroom, but if not, who is responsible for making sure you have the books you need? Make a list of additional items you will need for the first two - three weeks of school. Be sure you include paper (writing, drawing and construction paper, as well as posterboard and bulletin board paper), pencils, pens, rulers, glue, magic markers, chalk, chalkboard erasers, staplers, tape dispensers and tape (clear, masking, packing), crayons, scissors, staple remover, yardstick, clipboards, lesson plan book, grade book (ask if these are provided by your District), scratch pads, post-it notes, band-aides, surgical gloves, paper towels, tissue, thumb tacks, bucket, sponge and cleaning supplies.

3. Find out where the copy/ditto machine is, and who is responsible for running copies for the class.
If it is you, find out where the paper comes from. Some schools provide each teacher with a limited amount each quarter, while others have seemingly unlimited amounts available. Find out the specific policy BEFORE you invest in hundreds of dollars worth of duplicating books.

4. Decide how classroom materials will be organized and stored.
If you haven't done so already, start collecting baskets, coffee cans, shoe boxes, etc. Materials which are to be used by the entire class will need to be stored in easy to grab containers.

5. Plan for student supplies.
Primary aged classrooms often use the "community chest" method. Students bring supplies from home, and they are organized on shelves. Students take what they need, and return materials when they are finished. If students will keep their supplies in their desk, how do you want them stored so they don't spill out every time a child reaches in and takes out a book? School boxes are popular. Consider a "lost and found" basket. When a child finds an item, it is put in the basket. Children who cannot find their crayon, or protractor, look in the basket and take what they need. Ask veteran teachers if they have "used" items they are willing to share to put in the basket. Keep in mind, not all parents are able to provide what many of us take for granted. How will you handle your indigent children? Does your school have a policy for this?

6. How will you organize student forms?
Many teachers use a page in the grade book to list their students and items which are to be turned in, such as registration forms, emergency medical forms, bus ID's, student fees. As the year progresses additional items are added as necessary, i.e. , permission slips, field trip money, etc. When you take your class(es) on field trips, you may have to carry emergency forms; organizing them in the first few days, making copies if necessary, will save you time in the long run.


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