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Tips for Starting the Year off Right!

(Courtesy of the Vermont-National Education Association)
  1. Get organized. Organize your personal papers and classroom materials.
  2. Establish the rules. With your students, set and post about five classroom rules.
  3. Introduce yourself. Share an autobiographical sketch with your students.
  4. Make a good impression. Let your students know that you are prepared.
  5. Be clear. Tell your students exactly what you expect of them.
  6. Learn their names. Learn your students' names as soon as you can.
  7. Foster curiosity. Create an atmosphere that encourages and rewards curiosity.
  8. Start slowly. Cover material slowly so everyone experiences success.
  9. Find a shoulder. If you don't have a colleague who's a "buddy," find one.
  10. Get parents involved. Identify ways you can include students' parents.
  11. Call every parent early in the year to introduce yourself and to establish a line of communication.
  12. Set class goals. Work toward goals you and your students set together.
  13. Sound positive! Find opportunities to send positive notes home with each student.
  14. Build spirit. Find something unique about your class -- something you and your students can be proud about -- and encourage it.
  15. Get some class. Decorate your room to catch and keep students' attention.
  16. Keep good records. Get advice from your colleagues to help find a system that works for keeping lists and communications.
  17. Be prepared for special kids. Consult with your colleagues, district administrators, special educators, and specialists to learn about special needs students and plan how you will meet their needs.
  18. Build relationships. Get involved in professional and school activities and get to know your colleagues.
  19. Work out a sound system of supervision and consultation with para-educators who may be working regularly in your classroom.
  20. Be proud. Take pride in your accomplishments and those of your students.
  21. Be fair. Respect your students, and manage your classroom in an even-handed manner.
  22. Speak up. Don't hesitate to tell school critics that you and your colleagues are doing a good job.
  23. Relax! Remember that you are only one person, and you are doing the best you can.
  24. And finally, keep a sense of humor!