So now I’ve finally made it, after all of these years of education, preparation and then the last few months of relentless job hunting I have finally got my first teaching job at Bradwell Village School in Milton Keynes.
Now I have reached the point where I just think, where do I start?
I was lucky enough that my school offered me the opportunity to go in in the last week and get to know people and although I wouldn’t necessarily meet my class (aside from transition morning) I could see routines and recognise things like behaviour systems. In hindsight here is what I would suggest:
Write a list of questions – whenever they occur; you may find that they’re answered naturally throughout your time in school but it is reassuring to see them there being ticked off when at the time it feels like you don’t know anything!
If you get some sort of staff handbook; read it! It sounds a bit dull and swat-like but these things are put together with the intention of being useful and most contain information that can begin ticking off some of those questions!
Get phone numbers, it may sound obvious but make sure you have the school phone number in your mobile and if possible your year group team/team manager and the head teacher just incase you need to contact them.
Get your displays sorted early on in the holidays; you will have limited time when term starts and you don’t want to feel behind from the offset. Have a look in other people’s classrooms; there will be some displays that every class has to have and others that you might choose based on your own interests.
If you can leave a board near your desk for bits and pieces… I didn’t think I’d need any space but soon found lists (such as after school club rotas) and groups (such as interventions) appearing without any where to place them.
Plan a couple of display activities for the first day/week to allow your children and yourself to feel the classroom is theirs. An obvious example is the class contract; getting all the children to sign it. I also did a display for my door welcoming everyone into mine, and the children’s classroom, this year I use a flower template with the children’s faces stuck in the centre. On each of the petals the children answered a question such as ‘I am happy when…’, ‘I am excited when…‘, ‘I am sad when…’, ‘I am worried when…’, ‘I am a good friend because…’, and ‘I am glad to be me because…’.
If you are unsure of ideas for displays why not check out: http://www.flickr.com/groups/classrmdisplays/
Play around with your tables; don’t leave them in the way that they were when you got the classroom. Personally, I find it really difficult to think how I can move my classroom and where all the tables will fit. The way that I have found best is to stack all the chairs, move the tables either into the middle or around the edge; start with the draws or movable storage and then position tables around that.
Organise some early morning or extension activities and have them set up in a draw for whenever they’re needed. The more you can get sorted before school starts the better you will feel. Literacy examples could include photos printed in paper where the children answer thinking questions, or just describe the scene, 100 word challenge sheets or book reviews. Maths examples could be dominos in various forms from doubles/halves to analogue/digital clocks or pence/pound conversion as well as things like function machine questions.
Finally you need to RELAX! It’s the last time you’ll have some real ‘you’ time probably for a year so get all of the jobs out of the way and then put school out of your mind until September