Checklists for Success
As explained in this and other chapters, much of teaching is confidence. And organization can be a big boon to anyone's confidence. It may help you to use the following lists to help organize yourself before and during the school year. You can also find more comprehensive beginning-of-the-year and end-of-the-year checklists on the CD included with this book.
In Your Room
You will spend a lot of time in your classroom, so make sure that you have created a warm and welcoming environment there. Use the following checklist to make sure your room is ready for your students:
Create bulletin boards with an eye toward enhancing your curriculum. Make sure they are not a distraction to your students.
Organize your room into separate areas devoted to specific tasks and resources. For example, you might have an area devoted to make-up work, one for text checkouts, one for learning stations, and so on.
Gather your supplies in specific locations. Make sure to inventory what you have so that you can keep track of your resources.
Clean your desks before the students arrive. You will often come to school to find dirty desks that have not been cleaned all summer.
Depending on the grade you teach, make sure you have a pencil sharpener, chalk, erasers, markers, scissors, and crayons.
On Your Desk
You will spend a lot of time at your desk over the next year, so take some time now to organize your personal space. Following is a list of items that you should make sure to have at or near your desk for quick reference:.
Your course texts and books
Your lesson plan book
Your attendance book and sheets
Hall passes and discipline referrals
The substitute folder and information
Post-it notes, paper clips, paper, pens, and pencils
A stapler, tape, and a pair of scissors
Make sure that you follow the correct procedure for reporting any damage or other problems to your room. Try to take care of any issues during planning week so you can start the year off right.
In Your Lessons
Finally, you should make sure that when you create lessons, you consider the following:
Time to complete
Time to grade
While it can seem overwhelming, just take it one step at a time. Realize that you will have lessons that will flop and lessons that will soar. Keep the best, and rework the worst for next year's students. Only through trial and error can you truly become an effective teacher.