Initial days and weeks of teaching

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During your first few days in your school you will be teaching your class(es), getting to know the skills and abilities of your students and becoming familiar with the school and its policies and routines.

Learn the names of your students as soon as you can. Advise your students of your expectations in relation to their work and behaviour. Plan activities for your students that will enable you to observe their learning styles and gain an idea of their abilities and needs. Talk to your supervisor about the appropriateness of your lesson plans and find out if there are prepared units of work specifically developed for the ability level of your students which you can use.

Collect a sample of work from your students as soon as you can. This will help you assess your students' group and individual learning needs, assist in your lesson preparation and creation of an enjoyable and stimulating classroom environment.

Talk with your supervisor to find out as much as you can about your students' previous progress and their backgrounds including any important family, medical, cultural or language issues with which you should be familiar.

Allow time to familiarise yourself with the school and find out about its history, range of extra-curricular activities and links with the local community.

During the first few weeks of teaching you should have developed processes for observing all students in individual and group situations and be matching your students' learning needs to your class activities. You will be developing effective communication skills with your students and engaging all students in class activities. You will be establishing homework procedures and assessment strategies.

If you are a primary teacher you should check that the timetable you have designed gives an appropriate balance of time and activities to all curriculum areas.

If you are a secondary teacher you should check that lessons you plan for each of your classes will enable the desired syllabus outcomes to be achieved by students.

You should also be developing effective classroom and management strategies. Base your classroom management on the concept that the school is a place of learning. Your preparation is critical in establishing sound study and work habits in your students. Time spent planning lessons are rewarded in effective classroom practice.

Seek the advice of your supervisor on particular classroom management issues.

Approach discipline issues in a consistent and firm, but friendly manner. Develop a set of classroom rules and consequences with input from the students if possible. Notice and reinforce good behaviour. Make sure that what you do is consistent with the school's welfare/discipline policy.

If you are appointed during the year find out about the established routines operating within the classroom. If these are working effectively, introduce any changes you need to make gradually. Avoid making critical comments concerning the previous teacher, their program or teaching style.


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