Be it the first day at school after a long vacation, say a summer break or a winter break, or the first day of a new academic session, both are a mixed bag of emotions for teachers and students. Holidays can provide an enthralling experience and usually come as a much-needed break after term examinations or before the commencement of a new academic session.
In either case, it is possible that students may be a little overwhelmed to come to school. Sometimes, a break can be so refreshing that it may take them a while to get adjusted to the school and classroom atmosphere. Although it may be a similar experience for teachers too, it comes as their duty to make students feel at home.
To ensure enough preparedness of teachers for both the first days, the high schooler has curated a much-needed checklist for teachers pretty much-covering everything they need for making the first day a welcoming experience.
First-day checklist: Welcoming students after a long break
The first day after a long break does not really have a possibility of a student witnessing new faces around, because all the students know each other and are aware of their class teacher and subject teachers.
However, students do come back after an academic siesta and need some guidance on getting back to track with school. To make the process seemingly easy, here is a go-to checklist for teachers.
- Is the classroom sanitized?
- Is the blackboard/whiteboard/smartboard cleaned?
- Are the benches/tables and chairs in order?
- Is the cupboard organized?
- Are the first aid and emergency medicines in place?
- Is the school’s RO functioning properly?
- Has the canteen stacked fresh edibles?
- In case of extended leaves, are substitution teachers informed of their duties?
- Is the school premises cleaned?
- Is the timetable up to date?
- Are the washrooms clean?
- Are the toiletries re-stocked in the washrooms?
- Is the lesson plan for the rest of the academic session ready?
- Is the grade book up to date or is there a requirement for a new one?
- Are there enough resources for an ice-breaker game for the students?
- Is the classroom restocked with essential stationery items such as marker pens/chalk/duster/correction ink, etc.?
- Are the classroom’s teaching-related technologies such as projectors, sound systems, smart boards, and routers working efficiently?
- Are there any changes in classroom policies or will the old ones suffice?
- Is your ‘teacher’s planner’ ready?
- Is the teacher’s desk/podium organized?
- Is the list of time-filler or brain-break activities ready?
- Have you skimmed through the remaining curriculum and syllabus?
- Is the academic planner/calendar for the rest of the session up to date or does a new one need to be issued?
- Is the classroom tailored to meet the needs of specific children with unique preferences?
- Is the library stocked with reference books essential for the upcoming semester?
First-day checklist: A teacher’s first day at school
The first day of school is a day that all students and teachers will remember. New faces and new environments become the talk of the town! It is okay for students to come unprepared as a blank state because they solely rely on teachers to help them around.
But it is also possible that it might actually be the first day of a teacher as well. Considering the same, here is a detailed checklist for first-time teachers to ensure they are well-prepared and manage to make the first day memorable for their students.
- Have you prepared your introduction?
- Are you aware of the in-time and out-time of the school?
- Do you know the names of your colleagues?
- Have you prepared a lesson plan?
- Do you know the names of the students who have enrolled in your class?
- Have you prepared an ice-breaker activity for the students?
- Are you aware of the recess timings?
- Are you aware of where the first-aid kit is?
- Are you fully functional with basic first aid?
- Are you aware of the technologies used in the classroom for teaching purposes?
- Have you organized the cupboard?
- Does the classroom have relevant posters and informatics on the wall?
- Have you gathered your teaching materials and resources?
- Is there relevant information on the bulletin board?
- Is the timetable placed for an easy glance by the students?
- Is the library equipped with relevant subject-related books for the students?
- Are students allowed to carry phones to the classroom?
- Have you received the academic planner/calendar?
- Is the grade book with basic details such as students’ names, ready for use?
- Is the teacher planner ready?
- Are you aware of the attendance procedure?
- Have you decided anything on setting up a classroom procedure that aligns with the expectations of the students as well as the institution?
- Are you aware of the location of the school’s library, playground, cafeteria, administration, principal/dean’s office, staff room, etc.?
- Do you have any resources in place for a classroom management plan?
- Are you aware of the policies and procedures governing the school?
General first-day preparedness for teachers
Besides the checklist above, here are some pointers that you can use to kickstart your first day at school!
- Try to make your introduction lil creative and funny!
Young minds keep pondering around, so the idea is to grab their attention with a funny, quirky, and creative introduction. Ensure you cover the most basic things including your name and the subject you will be handling.
Another way to put this around is to keep the students guessing about the subject you will be handling for them. You can give them hints such as famous scientists or personalities in your field of the subject, or you can simply list out some unheard concepts relating to your subject.
- Plan for an ice-breaker activity!
No student likes studying on the first day at school, and that is a universal fact irrespective of grades. Also because it is the first day at school, students may have some questions on their minds and mostly may feel nervous, excited, or overwhelmed. This mixed bag of emotions smoothens once they get to interact with each other.
Hence, you can organize a fun icebreaker or warm-up activity that will bring about giggles and laughter around the classroom! You can make them play classic games like dumb charades, dog and the bone, or the famous sit-stand game.
- Get to know your students better!
Ensure you ask the students to introduce themselves. Their names, their hobbies, their previous schools, and general stuff such as what led them to choose your course. You can also ask them about what their expectations are with a new school and new course.
It is suggested that you keep a list of survey questions ready. This list will help you understand your students better. In this way, you can also customize your teaching methodology which will indeed help you connect better with the students.
- Be punctual
‘Better three hours too soon than a minute too late’ is a famous saying by William Shakespeare and applies in this case too. Ensure you are punctual and more importantly, try to arrive before your students so that you can prepare the class for the lecture.
This is if you are the class teacher of a particular grade and section. If you are only a subject teacher, ensure you are on time for your class. It is also a good practice to end the lecture on time.
- Decide on classroom rules
If you are handling a subject for a particular grade and section, you can make some rules governing your class. For example, some teachers prefer students to ask doubts at the end of the class while others prefer students raise their hands and ask the doubt as and when the concept is being taught. You can set these rules based on your preferences. Also, having these rules in place calls for a positive classroom environment.
- Come prepared with a lesson plan for the week.
You may choose to have the first day at leisure, but ensure you come prepared with what you shall cover in the coming week. Also, discuss your goals and targets for the week with your students. Brief them about project works or assignments that you shall be allotted.
- Be flexible
Your class has students who are unique in their own way. Thus, they may come with unique needs and requirements. You will need to incorporate their requirements so that you make them feel inclusive. But it is important that you also know where to stop so that it is not termed partiality.
- Establish a connection with parents.
Knowing the needs of your students and helping them in their academic journey is best done when you give it a personal touch. Go the extra mile and coordinate with the parents. Talk to them about their feedback on your subject and how they think you can provide better to their child.
Reflect and reflect at every step! Take every day as learning and use it to improve the upcoming days of your teaching with the batch. Utilize every day to understand your students better, and how you can teach them in ways that help them grasp the concepts and retain them. You can also check out high school blogs that are run by expert and professional high school teachers for effective tips and strategies.
- Self-care is essential
This is the most important pointer. Always remember you have to do well if you want your students to do well. Take good care of your emotional and physical health and well-being. Take breaks, stay hydrated, eat nutritious food, and pick up a hobby that helps your mental health.
A first-day checklist can serve as a useful tool enabling teachers to come prepared or make preparations for the first day. As discussed, the two effective checklists can help in preparedness on the first day of a new academic session or after a mid-term break.
Performing everyday academic-related tasks also becomes easy and hassle-free because teachers have the necessary resources in place. Hence, these checklists are every teacher’s go-to to hit the play button after a brief pause!
Sananda Bhattacharya, Chief Editor of TheHighSchooler, is dedicated to enhancing operations and growth. With degrees in Literature and Asian Studies from Presidency University, Kolkata, she leverages her educational and innovative background to shape TheHighSchooler into a pivotal resource hub. Providing valuable insights, practical activities, and guidance on school life, graduation, scholarships, and more, Sananda’s leadership enriches the journey of high school students.
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