Thursday, 5 September 2013

First Day of School

After all of the thought and planning that I put into my classroom, this is definitely how I felt when I woke up this morning!

     Our first bell rings at 8:50 a.m so I was at school at approximately 7:50 a.m. The reason for this is that I wanted to be in my room and relaxed when students first started arriving. It was a good thing too, because in the middle of the night the heater turned on in my room and it was SO hot when I got there. Furthermore, because of the heat, some of my decor had fallen off the wall because the tape wasn't sticking anymore. Luckily, I was able to get the heat turned off and replace all the decor before a student ever walked through the door!
first day of school as a teacher
A quick picture of my "First Day of School" before the students arrive!
Big thanks to my teacher-neighbour, "Ms. R", for the picture.
     After reading different teaching blogs I've kind of gotten a sense of all of the different "First-Day Routines" that different schools practice. "S-School's" routine is a lot different than what I was used to from when I was in public school so I was a little out of my element, but it went off without a hitch! Here is a look of what my first day looked like:

8:50 - 9:20
- Students go to their homerooms (I am the Grade 8 homeroom teacher).
- School registration and information forms are given out and explained.
  These cover things like school registration, health information, parent/
  guardian consent forms (for a variety of things), etc.
- Lockers are assigned and locks are given out.
- School agendas are passed out.

9:20 - 10:00
- Grade 7-12 go through a "Walk Through" of their schedule to familiarize
  themselves with the different rooms and ensure there are no conflicts in the
- During this time, our secretary would ring the bell approximately every 
  5 minutes and students would move their way from class-to-class as if it
  was a full day. 
- Essentially, they go to each of their scheduled classes and meet their 
  teachers quickly before the day actually starts for real.
* This type of routine is very new to me as we never had anything like this
  on our first days of school. It is a bit difficult because you see the students
  so quickly but you can't actually do anything with them yet.

10:00 - 10:47
- At this time, students were done the "Walk Through" and went to the
  class that they had scheduled to start at around 10 a.m.
- This period was actually my prep period so I could relax and get ready
  for my first "real" class.

10:47 - 12:00
- Time for Grade 8 math!

1 - 2:15
- Time for Grade 10 math!

2:17 - 3:23
- Time for Grade 7 science!

     For each of my classes that I had I did very similar activities. It is important to note that I've taught every single one of my students before during student teaching, and they are with the exact same peers that they were with last year (cut down on a lot of ice-breaker style activities). The first thing that I did was introduce my classroom expectations and pass out the respective course outlines (which are mandatory for Grades 7-12). After that, all of the activities that we completed were to help me understand my students as learners and we had an open discussion about what I can do to help them be successful in the classroom. These activities included:
- A survey that shared their attitudes and confidence about the subject
  (what words do you think of when you think of math, what do you like most
  about math class, what do you like least, etc)
- A discussion and questionnaire to help students determine which type of
  intelligence(s) they align with, as per Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences
  (this helps me plan out what type of activities we will do)
- A kineasthetic survey, "Step Over The Line", to determine what my student's
  out-of-school-lives are like
  (how many extracurriculars they are involved in, how far they commute to 
  school, if they have an after school job, etc)
  (this helps me know how much time they have available out of school so I can
  set reasonable expectations)

     All-in-all, the day went by SO quickly and I was definitely left feeling tired (in a good way). After writing it all out, it doesn't seem like I really did much of anything. I understand, however, that all of this information helps me understand my students better and ensures that I establish a learning environment that has a high chance of student success. Tomorrow we are on to Day 2 and I know that it will go just as well :)


  1. So glad your first day went so well. Here's to a great year.

  2. First day is always one of the most memorable. This blog is a great way to record your observations of the day and no doubt you will look back upon it one day and "remember when...".

    1. Thanks Thomas! Yes, I definitely enjoy having this blog and being able to look back and see the changes I've made professionally and personally.


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