How early does a brand new teacher need to get into her room?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by MrsJay, Jun 25, 2014.

  1. MrsJay

    MrsJay Rookie

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    Jun 25, 2014

    My students start early August. I would love to get in now just to look around the room, see what I have and what I need and take pictures.The district is on vacation now, however. I would love to spend the summer gathering what is missing and be ready when the school opens up to all teachers to prep their rooms.

    How early do I need to get in there in order to be ready for my students in early August?

    I don't want to spend money on things only to find that the room already has them. I'm also fearful of walking into four walls, desks and textbooks like I did at my last position (which was a charter, I am in a district now). I literally had to spend thousands, the school did not provide a single thing. Not even basics.

    How many weeks does it take a new teacher to set up her room? I know the timeline has to differ from returning teachers.
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Jun 25, 2014

    I try to start setting up my classroom three days before teachers officially report.
     
  4. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Jun 25, 2014

    I usually start about 2 weeks before teachers are due back. I'm usually 100% done by the time I have to report to work.

    I have always had a 35-80 minute drive to my school, so I always try to do it in just 2 or 3 long days.
     
  5. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Jun 25, 2014

    Good point- I did this my first year! If the school provides a supply budget, those materials are required to stay when the teacher leaves. I didn't really realize that as a first year teacher and bought a lot of things that my room already had. I wish someone would have told me to wait!

    I'm entering into my 5th year teaching and I've had to set up a new room every year! We got a new building between my 1st and 2nd years, and I've worked at two other schools since then. In any school I've worked at the building is open at least a few days before teachers officially have to report. I think this is plenty of time, and you can always go buy things the day you see the room if you find out you need them. I wouldn't think you would need "weeks" beyond what the school will provide once teacher work days start. This year took me the longest, because my room had a huge guided reading system (120 sets of books) that the previous teacher had just randomly thrown into boxes out of order. I spent about 4 full days in my room and then worked after the beginning of the year PD days for several hours until the building closed.
     
  6. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I like to go in for a few hours here and there for two weeks before teachers report back. We have no time in our rooms once we go back on contract, all that time is spent in PD. My principal really likes to see people once he opens the building, and it's an unstated requirement that your room be ready for open house before we go back on contract.
     
  7. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Jun 25, 2014

    Our secretaries return on August 4th. At that time, teachers can return to school to pick up with classroom keys (all teachers turn in their keys on the last day of school).

    Teachers officially return on Tuesday, August 12th. About 50% of them start preparing their rooms before then, though.

    I was one of those teachers who would go get my keys as soon as I could. I liked to get a head start and do a little each day (as opposed to fitting it in during two or three days).
     
  8. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Jun 25, 2014

    We keep our keys, so maybe you could see if a teammate has any plans to go in? I commute 45 minutes so I don't go in much over the summer. Plus, I nanny. I will start going back when the kid I nanny for goes back to school, which will be three weekdays before teachers report.

    Do you have your things to at least start planning?
     
  9. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Jun 25, 2014

    I'm switching schools and I'm planning on about 2 weeks before teachers report (which is only about 1.5 weeks after I move, UGH), though I won't be in every day. I've seen my room and it's basically a blank slate right now, which I LOVE. I have a budget and I get to pick the furniture I like instead of being forced to use preexisting furniture.

    What kinds of things are you talking about buying? Decorations? Furniture? Supplies?

    Also, if you bought everything yourself at your last position, don't you still have that stuff?
     
  10. TnKinder

    TnKinder Companion

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    Jun 25, 2014

    We can't get into the classroom until a week before the official start date. In that week, I go into my classroom only twice for about four hours each day. It really depend on what your district or school allows.
     
  11. live

    live Companion

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    Jun 25, 2014

    This is a good point! The weeks before my first year in 5th, I spent an unnecessary amount of time setting up my room and buying stuff. That was a mistake. Once the school year started, I was really wishing I spent less time on the room and materials, and more time getting familiar with the curriculum and gathering resources!

    If you can't get into your room, familiarize yourself with what you'll be teaching and peruse the internet for ideas and resources. Honestly, that'll be one of the best ways to prepare, and something I'll be doing as a still-pretty-new (3rd year) teacher.

    Another way I prepare beforehand is by tweaking my organizational system.

    Can you ask when you'll get keys? I had to ask my principal when I could start setting up my room when I was hired. I got my keys right then, after signing the contract. Our district allows teachers to keep their keys throughout the summer and as long as they still work there. I can go in at any time, and probably will go in 1-2 weeks before school starts.
     
  12. MrsJay

    MrsJay Rookie

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    Jun 26, 2014

    I do have all of the stuff I bought. However, I am going from sixth grade at my old school to kinder at my new school. A huge difference. I know that my stuff is not enough and I need manipulatives, supplies, story books and etc.
     
  13. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Jun 26, 2014

    Ah, I definitely understand. I'm making an opposite switch (1st to 5th), and primary DEFINITELY requires more stuff.

    When I started teaching 1st, the most expensive thing was books (ok, that's true now that I'm getting ready to teach 5th also). I've found that the cheapest place to get lots of books really fast is book sales at libraries. My local libraries have Friends of the Library bookstores that are open 6 days a week. They have REALLY good deals. I also got a few big lots of books on ebay. I know this doesn't relate to the topic of this thread, but thought I would offer an idea. :)
     
  14. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Jun 26, 2014

    My school is over throughout the summer- my principal and the secretary are there daily and my swipe key keeps the same hours (M-F: 7am to 5pm) so I literally can go into my classroom when ever I need to/want to.

    I'm starting my 5th year at my school- being in the same classroom- so I won't really go in early once we get closer to starting since I feel that I can complete things once we're officially back. The nice part is that I'm now only 10 minutes away- as compared to my original commute of 40 minutes. :)

    I would try e-mailing your P and seeing if there's a time you can check out your classroom. For the first time I went in, I took a camera along with me to take pictures of everything in my classroom and went through the cabinets to see what was already in the classroom. :)
     
  15. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Jun 26, 2014

    That is a big jump- but sounds like a fun one! I love teaching 6th grade, but our kindergarteners are so eager to learn and greet everyone they meet with a smile that I'm sure it would be a blast to teach them. :)

    Scholastic does some fabulous sales over the summer to help build up your classroom library- http://shop.scholastic.com/webapp/w.../20140601/Clearance/tsoHp/tsoTAB/shopnow/////
     
  16. teacherhoosier

    teacherhoosier Companion

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    Jul 1, 2014

    We have the option of keeping our keys over the summer. I always keep mine because I don't want to be at the mercy of someone else to get into my classroom. I live 30 minutes away, so I don't come in at all in the month of June. I consider that my free month and give myself a break from everything. Now that July is here (we go back August 4th and the kids come August 6th), I'll start coming in here and there the next couple of weeks so it's not so overwhelming. When it's about 2 weeks before the start of school, I'm here most of the time. We have a very transient population and we get our class lists late, so I always try to have everything else prepared early so I can get started on putting names on things as soon as I get my list.

    To answer the question, I guess it's a matter of personal preference. I like to try and spread things out so I'm not so stressed at the last minute..
     
  17. LMichele

    LMichele Cohort

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    Jul 1, 2014

    We keep our keys and can go in all summer. I spent the last 2 days of school emptying out my new room & moving in (most of) my boxes from the old room. I'm planning on getting in two weeks before teachers have to report & hopefully getting it done then so I still can have one week before we go back. I'd rather get it done early and enjoy what's left of summer than wait until the last minute.

    I'd ask when you're able to get in. Where I am, most teachers aren't allowed back in until a few days before, so my school is the exception.
     
  18. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    Jul 3, 2014

    There are lots of factors that come into play: floor waxing, rug washing, admin breaks, summer school, etc.

    With that being said, I would want to get in there YESTERDAY to take pictures, measurements, and a quick inventory of what is included with the room. There are a lot of things you can prep at home including bulletin board materials, name tags, folders, etc. But until you have a lay of the land you won't know what you need to do.

    As a beginning teacher it is very important to have the classroom ready before school begins because once the kids arrive you'll be crazy busy with teaching and planning.

    I would see if you can get in for a bit to get an idea of the space.

    Congrats on your new job and best wishes for a wonderful first year!
     
  19. frogger

    frogger Devotee

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    Jul 3, 2014

    I would call the school and ask the principal if it's all right to come in early to see the classroom, etc., then you will know if you can get in your room or not. If there is no one to answer the phone, you said the district is on vacation, however there's got to be somebody at the school during the summer - custodians cleaning and usually the principal.
     
  20. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Jul 3, 2014

    We start in Sept. and, by August, we can usually be in our rooms as often as we want. I can usually get it all done in 3 or 4 half-days.
     
  21. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    If we want to come into the school during the summer, we need to email the lead caretaker and the principal. It may or may not be possible, depending on the cleaning/waxing schedule and whether or not anyone is in the building. Except for caretaking, our schools are closed in the summer.
     
  22. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Jul 3, 2014

    Last year it took me a ridiculous amount of time to get my new room set up, but I knew I was going to stay in the room for at a least a few years. Because of this, I spent a lot of time making it exactly what I wanted it to be.

    I would probably plan at least 1 day just to clean it out, and go through the materials, and probably 2-3 additional days to arrange the furniture, hang things up on the walls and bulletin boards, and label things with the kids' names.

    It kind of depends on how crazy you are about organizing. Some people are content with everything being out of sight. I'm crazy, however, and I have to have matching, organized containers behind those cupboard doors.
     
  23. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Jul 3, 2014

    In my school they give the new teachers the least amount of time to set up. (Stupid I know.) They usually end up with 3-4 days. It's not perfect, but everyone gets the job done and their classrooms look great and ready for the kids on the first day. Don't stress now, enjoy being off- there will be plenty of time to stress throughout the school year! I promise they'll give you enough time and your classroom will look great. If there's anything you want to make, maybe just focus on that now.
     

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