Setting up classroom procedures as a first year teacher can be exhausting. You’re trying all the advice your coworkers are giving you. Even trying new strategies you found online. But no matter how many new things you try, your students are still relying on you for everything, and they are never moving around the classroom as you would like them to.
As a first year teacher, you may be feeling overwhelmed with how to best manage your classroom. Establishing procedures and expectations that are clear, consistent, and easy to follow can help create a positive learning environment for all students. This guide will provide tips and techniques on how setting up classroom procedures as a first year teacher can have your classroom running smoothly without you.
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Establish a Positive Classroom Environment- AKA Relationships
The first step to setting up classroom procedures as a first year teacher is to establish a positive class environment. You might be surprised to hear that you actually achieve this by establishing positive classroom relationships! When your students have a good relationship with you and each other they are more likely to follow along and even be leaders in following those classroom procedures you have set.
A positive classroom environment is essential for student success. Start by defining and communicating your expectations for student behavior. Encourage a sense of community in the classroom by introducing icebreaker activities and regularly checking in with students to build relationships. I personally love to do love calls, greet my students at the door, and love notes.
Acknowledge students’ efforts and recognize that all students have unique strengths and weaknesses. Focus on building those positive relationships with your students and you will be on your way to setting up classroom procedures as a first year teacher.
Set Clear Expectations for Students
The second step to setting up classroom procedures as a first year teacher is to establish expectations for your students. Students thrive best when they know what’s expected of them. 90% of the time students want to make their teachers happy once that relationship is built. It is your job to model what that looks like and sounds like.
One way to do this is to establish firm but fair expectations for student conduct. Make sure that your rules are clear and understandable, so students will understand the reasons behind them.
For example, you can set a rule that all students must raise their hand and be acknowledged to answer or ask a question. Post your classroom rules in an easy-to-see location and review them on a regular basis to help students remember them and hold each other accountable for following rules. Make sure to model what it sounds like and looks like when this procedure is done correctly.
All of these tips are a great way to setting up classroom procedures as a first year teacher. If you want help with this, check out my Ultimate Procedures Checklist that walks you through step by step what procedures you should be incorporating in the classroom.
Enforce Rules & Consequences
The third way to setting up classroom procedures as a first year teacher is to make sure to have clear rules and consequences when students do not follow your expectations and procedures.
As I mentioned before, students thrive the most when they know what is expected of them.
This is also true when it comes to their consequences. If students know you are not going to give them a consequence for their action, then they are going to continue to do the unwanted behavior.
Teaching students to follow rules is essential in maintaining an orderly classroom. In order to ensure that students understand the consequences for breaking rules, communicate your expectations from the start and make sure that all students are aware of the possible punishments for their actions. Each infraction should result in a consequence and be applied fairly, meaning the same consequence for each student who breaks a rule. Establish consistent outcomes – it will help you to maintain structure and provide consistency for all learners.
An example of what this could look like is:
- 1st consequence- nonverbal warning
- 2nd consequence- private verbal warning
- 3rd consequence- think sheet
- 4th consequence- note home
All of these ideas are a great way to setting up classroom procedures as a first year teacher.
Teach Responsibility Through Self-Management Techniques
The fourth strategy to setting up classroom procedures as a first year teacher is to teach your students responsibility for their learning.
Encouraging students to take charge of their learning can be challenging, but is an important step in developing self-management skills. Create a behavior chart that allows students to track their own progress and set classroom goals. I personally don’t believe in clip charts, but I prefer to provide a super improver wall. Which you can check out here.
You can also provide incentives, such as earning extra playtime or treats, when they meet those goals. I personally like to play beat the teacher for a couple minutes of “free time” at the end of the day. Make sure that all students are involved in the process and are aware of the consequences if they fail to meet expectations.
These are great examples on how you can start setting up classroom procedures as a first year teacher.
Develop Routines & Procedures
The final step to setting up classroom procedures as a first year teacher is to actually develop the routines and procedures. Ideally you want to do this before you even set up your classroom, but it’s never too late to incorporate new procedures.
- How do I want my classroom to flow?
- Where should students go if they need to find x, y, or z?
- What centers do I need to set up in order for students to be successful?
By setting up your classroom to support your routines, you are ensuring your day runs smoothly and thought out. Routines help to provide consistency and structure, making it easier for students to know what is expected of them. This can include the timing of when the class should enter and exit the room, the materials they will need for lessons, and any other procedures necessary for smooth classroom management. Make sure that all students understand each routine thoroughly before proceeding with instruction.
And as always make sure to model what it looks like and sounds like for each routine with your students. All of these strategies are a great way to setting up classroom procedures as a first year teacher.
Overall, there are 5 different strategies to setting up classroom procedures in the classroom as a first year teacher. This includes:
- Establishing a Positive Classroom Environment- AKA Relationships
- Setting Clear Expectations for Students
- Enforce Rules & Consequences
- Teach Responsibility Through Self-Management Techniques
- Develop Routines & Procedures
All of these strategies are great ways to setting up classroom procedures as a first year teacher. If you need a routine on how to introduce a new strategy and what procedures you should incorporate download The Ultimate Procedures Guide where I provide you a list of the top procedures every classroom should incorporate as well as a video companion walking you through how I introduce a new routine.
What procedures are you incorporating this week? I would love to know!