Classroom Setup Tips I Wish I Would Have Known as a First-Year Teacher


These are the 5 classroom setup tips I wish I would have known as a first year teacher. These classroom setup strategies will help you get clear on how to utilize classroom management, how to organize different areas in your classroom, and how to confidently plan for the first few weeks of school.

As a new teacher, the excitement of setting up your first classroom can be overwhelming. From colorful bulletin boards to cozy reading nooks, the possibilities seem endless. However, in the midst of creating a Pinterest-perfect space, it’s easy to overlook essential aspects of classroom setup that can truly make a difference in your teaching journey. In this blog post, I’ll share five invaluable classroom setup tips I wish I had known as a first-year teacher.

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Don’t Focus Solely on Aesthetics

When I began my teaching career, I spent weeks meticulously decorating my classroom, focusing solely on aesthetics. However, I soon realized that there’s more to classroom setup than just making things look cute.

Things to Focus on Instead:

  • The Flow of the Classroom: Consider how your students will move around the room and access materials.
  • Classroom Management: Establish clear rules, expectations, consequences, and procedures before the first week of school.
  • Curriculum Planning: Prepare your lesson plans and activities for the first week, covering essential skills and procedures.

Recap: The first-year teacher classroom setup tips extend beyond aesthetics to include considerations for classroom flow, management, and curriculum planning.

Your Areas Matter

During my first year of teaching, I haphazardly set up classroom areas without much thought. However, I soon realized the importance of intentional area setup to minimize distractions and optimize learning environments.

Key Areas to Consider:

  • Line-Up Area
  • Whole Group Area
  • Independent Work Area
  • Small Group/Teacher Table
  • Library
  • Pack-Up Area

Recap: Be intentional about how you set up your classroom areas and consider their proximity to minimize distractions and enhance learning experiences.

Set Up Your Processes Now

One crucial aspect I overlooked as a new teacher was organizing my paper and data workflow. Without clear systems in place, I struggled to maintain organization and efficiency.

How to Achieve Clear Systems:

Identify key processes from printing resources to filing student work.
Establish designated storage spaces and filing systems for different materials.
Streamline your workflow to ensure efficiency and organization from day one.
Recap: Focus on establishing clear systems for paper and data management to maintain organization and efficiency in your classroom.

Have Your First Week Planned and Prepped

Instead of solely focusing on aesthetics, prioritize planning and prepping for the first week of school. Having clear procedures, expectations, and activities planned will set a positive tone for the entire school year.

Recommendations for Planning and Prepping:

Teach essential procedures and skills during themed weeks using engaging activities.
Take advantage of summer break to plan and prep for the first week ahead of time.
Recap: Plan and prep your first week of school in advance to ensure a smooth start and establish a positive classroom environment.

You Don’t Have to Have It Perfect Now

Lastly, remember that your classroom doesn’t have to be perfect from day one. Teaching is a journey of growth, and your classroom will evolve over time as you gain experience and confidence.

Mental Shifts to Embrace:

Focus on building a strong foundation rather than striving for perfection.
Take a long-term perspective and prioritize sustainability over short-term perfectionism.
Recap: Embrace a long-term mentality and focus on building a strong foundation that can evolve and grow over time.


As a first-year teacher, setting up your classroom can feel daunting, but by prioritizing essential aspects such as classroom flow, intentional area setup, clear processes, thoughtful planning, and embracing imperfection, you can create a welcoming and effective learning environment for your students.

Next Steps

Are you ready to set up your classroom for success? Explore our resources, including the Ultimate Classroom Setup Guide, Classroom Setup Challenge, and Classroom Kickstart Mini-Course, to take your classroom setup to the next level.

As always remember:


Helena <3


Feeling overwhelmed and not sure if teaching is for you? Click here to learn the key shift on how to love teaching again in the new year.

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