Post # 1
I’m currently a substitute teacher – I subbed all last year and now I’m subbing this year as well. BUT that might all be changing! After I subbed this past Thursday, I drove 45 minutes to another district for an interview for a 5th grade position at a middle school. And it went great! The way that the districts work here (not sure if this is everywhere or not), the principal cannot actually hire. They can make the recommmendation to the board of education, but it’s the board’s final decision. The principal told me that once she puts in the recommendation there should be no problems and I would receive a call on Tuesday night after the board meets, then would be working on Wednesday. After the interview, I was given a tour of the 5th grade wing and what would be my classroom; two other 5th grade teachers also went through my schedule with me and told me what I’d be teaching each period. After the tour, the principal walked me out and told me that I should be anticipating a call. Also, I sent a thank you email after the interview and in her response back she told me that she hoped I got the call on Tuesday. So I feel pretty confident.
However, I won’t know for certain until Tuesday night. And then I’ll be expected to take over the next day. The interview committee already told me there’d be lesson plans left for the rest of the week, so I’m not worried about that. I just want to make sure that I do this right. If it was EVERYONE’S first day, I’d feel differently. But it’s just MY first day – they already have an established routine, classroom rules, consequences, etc. I’m sure they did the typical team-building exercises during the first week of class. How do I step into this classroom after they’ve already been in school for over a month and make it MY classroom, especially on such short notice? Any suggestions would be appreciated. =)
Post # 4
@dayl20: I don’t have much advice other than be confident… Kids are like dogs- they can smell fear! LOL I’m sure you’ve experienced this with subbing right? You just gotta go in and take charge! Don’t be afraid of making changes, after all it is UR classroom now! Good luck, sounds like you def have the job!
Post # 5
I did this last year – I was hired mid-October after the teachers quit and they had subs for a month! Inner city, very high poverty and low performing school. I was in high school, so their attitudes and perception of me were very different than 5th grade.
Over the weekend, I decorated my classroom. It went from blank, white, boring to colorful, organized, and chock full of personality. The boards were decorated, the seats faced a different way, etc. It was like starting all over.
I started just like I would at the beginning of any year – syllabus, expectations, and introduction to me. They LOVE my self-intro because I’ve done tons of traveling (lots of pics in a PPT with silly stories) but don’t come from a rich, traveling, well-educated family, so I try to stress that they can do those things through their education.
The first lessons need to be HIGH INTEREST so you can focus on correcting their process (how to turn in HW, participate, raise hands, etc) rather than content. Still do some team building / intros so you can get to know them. Stress that they are the “pros” and you are the novice, at least when it comes to that school – ask them to tell you what you should know about the school, the other teachers, the school culture, etc. They’ll love talking about the teachers and school in general.
HAVE FUN! It might be rocky at first, but you’ll love it! And if there are any students messing around in your class, call home IMMEDIATELY. Nip it in the bud.
Post # 6
In terms of routines, definitely pretend it is the first day of school. That is so key.
Post # 7
@dayl20: I’m still a student teacher, but the situation is similar when you walk into a class on your first day as a student teacher and it’s mid-year for the kids.
Do you know what the established procedures are in terms of rewards/punishment and behaviour management? If not, ask a trustworthy student eg “Kelly, what usually happens when you have all your homework completed for the week?”. If you don’t like the existing procedures, I would straight up introduce that when you come in. Like “Good morning, I’m Mrs Dayl20, looking forward to getting to know you all”. It might even be worth pretending that the kids that it is the first day of school and working with them to create a poster of class rules/expectations so you start with a clean slate.
Re-doing get to know you exercises with the kids won’t hurt. I did them when I started my last placement and it was Term 4! Most people love to talk a bit about themselves.
Be firm and immediate with your consequences. On my first placement I sort of let some misbehaviour go and thought “I’ll deal with that if it gets worse”. BAD IDEA. They will try and test you – if their behaviour is not acceptable, let them know. If you tell them that in your class you must raise your hand to speak, enforce it 100% of the time, even if it’s a “good” kid doing it. Kids pick up on any perceived unfairness very quickly.
hisprettygirl’s idea is a good one – give them some agency. Ask ‘what usually happens after recess?’ “What sort of thing do you do in PE?”. They will love that feeling of responsibility. I would also ask for students’ suggestions as to how to decorate the classroom, so they feel like it is their little community.
Good luck and have fun! 🙂
Post # 8
I’m not a teacher but I wanted to wish you good luck! That happened when I was in sixth grade – our teacher had a nervouse breakdown in October and left during the middle of the day and never came back. It was weird. We had subs until after Christmas when they finally hired a replacement. By that time we were a bunch of assholes…you know, like sixth graders are…and the new teacher was WAY too nice about it and not firm. The jerky kids in class ran all over him.
It was terrible.
But I’m sure you’ll do better – our guy seemed like it was his first day in a classroom, ever. Just be confident, friendly, and don’t be afraid to lay down the law. You’re their teacher, not their best friend.
Post # 9
@dayl20: good luck! That’s do exciting! I teach 10-12 grades and love it!