Just Hired... HELP!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by HandsnHeartfull, Jul 28, 2017.

  1. HandsnHeartfull

    HandsnHeartfull Rookie

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    Jul 28, 2017

    I was just hired several days ago and it was honestly quite unexpected. I'm actually suppose to be student teaching this fall and then I was going to graduate with my Masters this December. Because I live in a rural area, and we have a bit of a teacher shortage I always knew I'd be able to get a job easily. But I didn't think that they'd hire me before I'd even student teach. So this job offer for a teaching position in first grade was completely unexpected and now I have about a month to figure everything out. *Note: I know it's taboo to teach before you student teach, but I have reasons for taking this route. Please be helpful and not criticize my decision.

    With there being only a month to prepare for everything, I'm a bit anxious. There will be a new teacher academy which will help familiarize me with things. I also have been assigned several mentors that will assist me throughout this year (one of which my university will pay a stipend for). My husband is a technician within the system and will help me set up my classroom. I am familiar with this school as both of my kids attend it.

    So far I:
    • have created a classroom management plan (rules, procedures, how to review them, logical consequences, and behavioral system as well as classroom jobs). I know to spend the first several weeks really focusing on this and practicing them until they are perfected.
    • have begun to think about what is needed for open house (back to school night) like behavioral contracts and letters to parents. Is there anything else I should include?
    • have also been reading about what to expect from first graders (I've worked with Pre-K, 4th, and 5th, but not first grade).
    • am beginning to figure out what to do for morning meetings. I'm a huge fan of responsive classroom even though our school district doesn't use it.
    • have obtained the pacing guides and previewed what the first few weeks will consist of.
    • have read that I need at least two weeks of lesson plans. It's best to over plan. I will begin planning these soon and hopefully I will have an idea of what my schedule will look like soon too.

    I'm just worried that I am going to over look something and then everything will blow up. So is there anything else I can think of to prepare for? What do I need to focus on for these first few weeks? Give me all your advice, whether it is for what to do for back to school or advice for a new teacher. I know I'm at a disadvantage here because I didn't do the student teaching (I have completed four practicums though). I really want to ensure that my first graders have a wonderful year. I know I'm bound to make mistakes and I know this will be a challenge. But I want to make sure I'm prepare for as much as I need to be. Thank you guys so much for any advice and tips you throw my way. I"m greatly appreciative.
     
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  3. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

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    Jul 28, 2017

    I don't primarily focus on rules and procedures the first few weeks. I do teach them, however, I feel that they stick better if they are learned authentically. Don't ignore your first grade curriculum for a few weeks in exchange for practicing procedures, but every time something must happen then review with the students your expectations and hold them to those expectations. If you teach them in isolation, even to perfection, they won't transfer as well to a new situations. For example.
    T: okay class we are going to line up for x activity. Let's review my expectations. First we ____________, next we __________________-, finally we _______________. Do you understand? Okay let's try it.
    S: *line up but little billy talks to his neighbor*
    T: Oh, that was mostly very good, however, I think we still have a few people who do not understand my expectations, please return to your seats. Let's review my expectations.....
    T: Do I have a volunteer to show us all how it's done?
    T: repeats process until everyone does exactly as they are expected.
    Realistically you can't spend several weeks focusing only on procedures, you have too much to teach. Spend a week, maximum two weeks focusing on procedures then do as in my example above every time something must be done until they get it down.
    I start my third grade curriculum on the second day of school (except for math, math we start on the first day). We spend the first day getting overviews of rules, expectations and procedures. On the second day we start our first story out of our basal, but I spend two weeks on the story, instead of the regular one to make sure that I have time to reinforce those expectations. When I ask them to open their books every time for two weeks we review how to treat and open our books. But I make sure there's an authentic reason for practicing those procedures.
    Remember that the first week or two will be a honeymoon time period. Kids will really do everything you say exactly as you say it. About weeks 2-6 will be the testing period. Kids will test you to see how seriously you are going to take your procedures, rules, and consequences. This is important that you stick to your guns. Around week 6 both you and the kids will settle into a routine. Don't stop teaching procedures when you see something falling apart. You might notice kids are getting sloppy with the pencil sharpener in February, don't let it slide. Review your procedures. Some kids might get lazy about lines in November. Don't stop. Practice those procedures.
    Good luck on your first year.
     
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  4. amh1819

    amh1819 Rookie

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    Jul 28, 2017

    I taught first grade for two years, and you are right on track with a classroom management plan. I would focus on procedures the first two weeks. I wouldn't plan too much now because it may all change when you start. One summer my teammate and I spent days planning the first nine weeks, and on the first teacher workday, the principal told us we had to use a specific guide written by the county. Basically we had to throw away what we had planned. The best advice I can give is work with your team, get advice from them, and help each other. It is very hard to be "on your own" as teacher. You need other teachers. Hopefully you'll be blessed with a good team!
     
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  5. amh1819

    amh1819 Rookie

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    Jul 29, 2017

    By the way, I agree with kellyz with making transitions and teaching procedures authentically. It's been a while since I've taught the little ones. They will learn the procedures as long as you're consistent. They had to learn procedures in Kindergarten, so they know you will have expectations.
     
  6. HandsnHeartfull

    HandsnHeartfull Rookie

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    Jul 29, 2017

    Thank you amh1819 and Kellzy!! Your posts are really helpful. I'm definitely writing some of this down to keep in mind.
     
  7. justwanttoteach

    justwanttoteach Cohort

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    Jul 29, 2017

    I wouldnt feel too bad about not student teaching first. Yes, you learn a lot when you student teach. However, the real deal is rarely if ever all the preparation you need for your first year. Yes you will make mistakes...a lot of them. You will probably be more tired than you ever have been. Allow yourself to make the mistakes and reflect and grow from them. It sounds like you are doing the right things and getting connected with the right people. Enjoy it!
     
  8. HandsnHeartfull

    HandsnHeartfull Rookie

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    Jul 31, 2017

    Aww you are wonderful. Thank you so much for your kind words. I really appreciate them. <3
     

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