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Mistakes Teachers Make the First Week of School

Teachers make mistakes the first week of school. As a new teacher, I made so many mistakes.  I cried at the end of the first few days during the early years thinking about how much I had messed up. Of course, I hadn’t screwed up as bad as I thought I did, but I have learned a few things over the years.

The weeks leading up to the first week of school are busy getting the classroom ready and attending school meetings. Consequently, teachers often do not spend a lot of time preparing for the first week of class. Let me give you three of the most common mistakes teachers make during the first week along with tips on how to NOT make those mistakes this year.

Teacher Mistake 1: Not building connections with your students

One mistake teachers often make the first week of school is not building connections. Students need to know and like you in order to trust you. Building connections with your students is so important. I have found that when students like you, they are more likely to follow the rules and work hard.  They didn’t want to disappoint me.  This is only the result of a strong connection made over time. 

Begin building connections the first week by letting your students get to know.  I share about my life, the life of my kids, hobbies, etc. the first day of school. This can be done many different ways, but I use my “Meet the Teacher” presentation to share about myself. Just fill out the slide and project it on the overhead. See the sample slides below.

Teacher Mistake 2: Not teaching and practicing procedures enough

Another mistake teachers make the first week of school is NOT teaching and practicing procedures enough. Create a master list of how you want everything to run in your classroom.  Get your free copy by signing up for my free resource library.

Take your master procedures list and write into your lesson plans when you will teach that procedure.  I teach many during the first week of school, but you must reteach and practice over and over in the months to come.  

When I teach procedures to my students, I pull up a corresponding slide on the projector.  Every time I reteach or practice that procedure during the first weeks of school, I pull up that slide as a visual reminder of my expectations. 

Teacher Mistake 3: Not having enough prepared

A final mistake teachers make during the first week of school is not having enough prepared. As a huge Disney fan, I always think of the song from The Lion King when Scar sings “Be Prepared.” You must be overprepared during the first weeks! 

Yes, you may have a guess as to how long things will take and how many activities you need planned, but you don’t know how long it will take your new class to get things done.  The first week of school is not a time for regular instruction, so you will need many activities that can be used between teaching procedures.  

First week activities should be meaningful and purposeful. I like to vary academic, goal setting, fun pages, and get-to-know-you activities. There are a few units in my store that can help if you don’t already have activities of your own. 

I hope these tips will help you have the BEST first week of school EVER! You’ve got this!!