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Back to School teaching tips

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In Australia most schools will be going back this week.  As I have spent the last week speaking at staff development days and to teachers who are teaching for the first time I have been fascinated at the variety of back to school tips and strategies for how to engage the students from day one.  Here is a random sample of what teachers are doing to kick off their year:

  • For those affected by the floods in Queensland , many of them are still cleaning and waiting for new furniture and supplies to arrive
  • One teacher who has been teaching for 35 years ALWAYS starts the first day with a whole bunch of creative and fun get to know you games.  She showed me her props and they were amazing; everything from dress ups to interactive games on a wii
  • One teacher told me how she sets the standard up front and launches straight into work
  • Yet another teacher in Sydney’s western suburbs told me of how the whole school starts the year with an intensive English program to help the students get the basics right for the year.

Personally, my school starts with a BBQ for our students (we just teach years 10-12) and an orientation session.  In my classes I spend the first day doing two things:

  1. Casting vision for the classroom culture I will create
  2. Doing teamwork building activities

Both of these are fundamental to how I run my classes.

I’m wondering…Have you ever had a disastrous first day?  What advice would you give to a new teacher on how to conduct their first day?

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