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How to Set Up Your Classroom the RIGHT WAY For First Year Teachers

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Are you a first year teacher wondering how to set up your classroom? Here's a step by step guide on how to set up your classroom with ease

So, you’ve just accepted your first teaching position, and you’re scrolling through social media—Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, podcasts—searching for resources on how to set up your classroom as a first-year teacher. What you’re probably finding is a mix of random strategies, leaving you to piece them together. Today, I’m going to show you a step-by-step, action-by-action, task-by-task guide on what you should be doing to set up your classroom. Let’s jump in!

Hey, teacher bestie! My name is Helena, and I’m the creator of the Present Teacher Podcast. I’m a first-year teacher coach, and in this podcast, you’ll learn everything from simple, actionable classroom management to social learning and teacher wellness strategies. You know that impact you want to make in the classroom? We’re going to make it happen here.

Step 1: Hold Off on Buying Supplies

One of the first questions you might be thinking is, “What should I buy for my classroom?” While it’s a logical question, here’s something I wish I had considered sooner: Don’t buy a lot of things until you’ve been in your classroom. You might find that many materials are already provided, and the money you save can be spent on something else.

When I switched districts to teach second grade, I waited until I saw my classroom before purchasing anything. I knew I could get whatever I needed quickly through Amazon Prime. This approach saved me from unnecessary spending and allowed me to gradually accumulate what I truly needed.

Step 2: Make a Priority List

Once you see your classroom, start making a list based on priority. For example, you might notice you don’t have many books, so you can allocate some budget towards building your classroom library. Check out secondhand stores for affordable books. This way, you won’t feel financially pressured to buy everything at once, and you’ll only get what you truly need.

Step 3: Sketch Out Your Classroom

On the day you see your classroom, take some time to sketch out the layout. Take pictures and record a video walkthrough. This allows you to plan your setup from the comfort of your home, so you’re not overwhelmed on the day you physically set up your classroom.

Step 4: Plan the Layout Based on Classroom Flow

Think of your classroom like a river—it should flow with the least resistance. Consider how students will move around the room to minimize disruptions. Plan areas strategically to facilitate smooth classroom management. Refer to my previous content for ideas on setting up different areas in your classroom.

Step 5: Set Up Different Areas

Now that you have a plan, it’s time to set up your classroom. Invite friends, family, or colleagues to help. With your layout already sketched, the setup process will be quicker and more efficient.

Step 6: Plan Communication

Think about how you’ll communicate with families. Do you have a family night coming up? Plan your flyers and other communication materials ahead of time. This way, during the first week of school, you won’t be scrambling to get everything together.

Step 7: Develop a Classroom Management Plan

Create a comprehensive classroom management plan. Think about how you’ll build relationships, establish rules, teach procedures, and respond to disruptive behavior. Having a clear plan will help you be consistent and proactive in managing your classroom.

Step 8: Plan the First Week or Month

Outline what content you’ll be teaching and plan at least the first week in detail. Transitioning from a relaxed summer to a structured school schedule can be challenging, so having your plans ready will ease the stress.

Step 9: Plan Data Collection and Grading

Decide how you’ll handle grading and data collection. Set up your grade book and determine how students will submit their work. Avoid letting papers pile up by having a system in place from the start.

Summary of Steps

  1. Hold off on buying supplies until you’ve seen your classroom.
  2. Make a priority list of what you need.
  3. Sketch out your classroom layout.
  4. Plan the layout based on classroom flow.
  5. Set up different areas of your classroom.
  6. Plan communication with families.
  7. Develop a classroom management plan.
  8. Plan the first week or month of school.
  9. Plan data collection and grading.

Additional Resources

If you want a resource that breaks all this down into actionable pieces, download the Ultimate Classroom Setup Guide. This free guide compiles the top 10 tips for setting up your classroom, saving you hours of research.

For those wanting to dive deeper, consider joining the Classroom Kickstart Mini-Course. This four-week program helps new and first-year teachers set up their classroom for success, covering everything from classroom layout to management and planning. Join the waitlist for the live cohort to get early bird access and special bonuses.

Final Words

Remember, you’re doing a great job. Setting up a classroom can feel overwhelming, but you’re building the foundation for a strong school year. Each year will get easier as you refine your processes. Keep your head up, focus on one task at a time, and know that you’re capable of creating an amazing learning environment.

Connect and Support

If you found this blog post helpful, please leave a review and share it on social media. Tag me to let me know you’re listening. We are stronger together, and I’m here to support you every step of the way.

Remember:

Not sure what to ask at the end of your teacher interview?

Here we break down 10 questions to ask the hiring committee at the end of your teacher interview. PLUS possible red and green flag answers to keep an eye out for.

These teacher interview questions will help you confidently prepare for your upcoming teacher interview, discover the perfect district for you to work for, and know with confidence how to stand out during your next interview from other candidates.

See you in the next one, teacher bestie!

Love,

Helena

AKA

Not sure what to ask at the end of your teacher interview?

Here we break down 10 questions to ask the hiring committee at the end of your teacher interview. PLUS possible red and green flag answers to keep an eye out for.

These teacher interview questions will help you confidently prepare for your upcoming teacher interview, discover the perfect district for you to work for, and know with confidence how to stand out during your next interview from other candidates.

Download the Ultimate Classroom Setup Guide

Join the Classroom Kickstart Mini-Course