I sat down today for a good two hours after summer school and wrote lists upon lists of things I need to do to prepare for my first day. About 15 minutes in, I had a good set of supplies, but the interesting part came after the basics were fleshed out.
This exercise got me thinking even more about specifically what I need to prepare for a successful first several days of school. I created an exhaustive list of the materials that I need to purchase, prepare, create, and ask for. From there I have created a plan as to how I am going to partition my room and use the space that is provided for efficiency and organization sake. Some things were obvious but I wrote them out again: rules poster, procedures, consequences, etc., but to my surprise there was also a fair share of materials that did not cross my mind until after really playing the first days in my head out like it was actually happening…What do I need to do? Who should I greet in the morning? Should I give people gifts?
One for instance was keys for my room. I need to be able to open and lock my door whenever I please. Yes, obvious now, but it has amazed me how many things I have been forgetting or just not thinking of at all. On a side note, this also helped remind me that I need to own my room. It’s mine, and I am the teacher now—OK, you said it, now accept it as reality. Another was a welcome letter to substitute teachers that explains where things are located in my room, important contact information at the school, my daily routine, and the bell schedule.
I’m also planning to purchase a set of thank you cards and some candy that will be at the ready should I want to thank my fellow teachers, administrators and, some times most importantly, my support (secretary, janitors, coaches).
I’m stuck wondering with all of this information and all of this mostly half-planned work what it all will actually look like those first few days I am at my classroom before students arrive. During the list making, I ran across advice somewhere that said: “Don’t merely think about how you would like your organizational system to work. Create it. Buy the crates, buy the folders, put them in the places where you believe they should go. Many inherent weaknesses that are invisible in the conception become immediately clear in the execution.” This is a problem for me at this point and I’m left with anxiety that I can’t seem to shake. I need even more time outside of lesson planning, summer school, role plays, meetings, and finding a place to live to actually plan, buy, prepare, and implement all of this to see if it will actually work as well as I am planning. We shall see…I guess I should just go buy some bins :P