Beginning a New School Year

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Beginning a New School Year I have been in education for 28 years. Each year as I begin with students, I feel a need to plan and have a clear goal of the expectations in my classroom. I remember starting as a new teacher. I was excited to begin teaching. But about the middle of the year I began to doubt myself. Reality presented challenges that I needed to work on. I made a lot of mistakes. Here are a few that I wanted to share and to give you some insight on how to start a new year. The first mistake I made was that I didn’t have a plan for handling classroom behavior issues. These are things that will always arise, even when you are convinced that all of your students are angels. So be prepared with a plan so that you are not reacting, but simply sticking with the plan. Be specific about your plan. Write it down and share it with the students as soon as possible. Students are often not intentional about misbehaving. Without guidelines and expectations, students simply don’t know what to do. No matter the age of your students, they will all need to become familiar with these expectations at the beginning of each year. Students and teachers will be excited at the beginning of the year. And talking is natural. Establish a routine for starting class. There are several options for dealing with students talking out of turn and you will need to choose what works best for you. Your school may implement CHAMPS. Or you may get suggestions from Harry and Rosemary Wong in their book The First Days of School. Whatever you choose as a guide, tweak the plan, make it your own, and be consistent. Make sure that students know that you care about them and explain that you are not trying to “catch” kids but rather supporting a positive learning environment. Consider explaining that students will receive a warning in order for them to be in control. When you give

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