In preparation for elementary school teaching, there are more concepts to consider than simply writing a syllabus and creating lesson plans. There are questions to ask yourself about classroom management, provisions, and garnishment as you make the transition from student teaching into your first professional position.
Classroom Supplies and Backups
As a teacher, there will be certain supplies that you may provide for your students instead of having them bring in their own versions. For example, a math teacher may bring in graph paper or compasses. An art teacher would need to supply clay and pastels. Knowing both the budget provided by your school, and which supplies you may be purchasing out of pocket can help you make choices about where to shop and which donations to ask for.
In addition, it is to be expected that at some point, your students will not have the tools they need for their daily work. On the happier end, it may be due to forgetfulness, but unfortunately, you may also have students suffering from neglect or poverty who are unable to purchase these supplies. It can be less disruptive to have extra pencils, erasers, and notebooks on hand to assist your students and move the class along.
Classroom Decorations and Tools
The age group and the course materials will affect which kinds of decorations are most appropriate for your classroom. If you are primarily a science teacher, having posters with planets or animals could be relevant. If you are a language instructor, having the alphabet, punctuation, and quotes around the room may be better. Having related context on your walls can help wandering eyes still be absorbing material even with a short attention span.
Depending on the school budget, you may be working with advanced technology such as smartboards and personal tablets. If your school is using older technology, you may be using overhead projectors or chalkboards. In either case, it is important to be familiar with your resources before the beginning of the school year.
Classroom Rules and Discipline
Some teachers prefer to have a list of rules prominently displayed at the front of the classroom. Others prefer a syllabus and to remind students of the expectations throughout the year. Regardless of your method, it is important to communicate your guidelines and stick to them consistently throughout the year in order to maintain control over the classroom.
As is to be expected, you will eventually have students who refuse to follow instructions. It is just as important to have clear and understood consequences for broken rules. Ensure that your punishment fits the crime, both for the severity of the offense and for the repetition of it.
The beginning of the school year is a fresh start for both you and your students. With a careful thought process as you make your plans for your upcoming term, you may need to ask questions of a mentor or do some careful research into your school’s expectations. However, these concepts are in your hand and are as malleable as your student’s minds.