Routines are essential to success in the classroom. Teachers need routines as well. Learn how to prepare your classroom for a successful day.
At the start of every school year teachers around the country blow the dust of the binders, drag themselves out of the pool, and prepare for the start of another school year. The one thing they all know is that routines and procedures are essential to success. Inside that dusty binder is their list of procedures and routines they use.
The binder will creak when it opens and there will be the checklist of routines and procedures. The teacher will carefully scan and look for the ones that need to be updated from the year before. She will then write out these changes and prepare to implement them on the first day of school. Dozens of routines are listed but not a single one is for a teacher.
The Students Prepare the Classroom
Preparing the classroom for the next day, has always begun with the end of the day routine. It goes something like this:
Students gather up their papers and put them in their backpack, any last minute things are handed out, the pencils are sharpened, the room is picked up, and the chairs are placed on top of the desk. After we all leave, the janitorial staff will come in to vacuum and take out the trash.
At the beginning of the next day students say hello at the door, put away their things, gather a pencil and an assignment, go to their assigned desk, put down their chair, and prepare themselves a place to learn. This is the morning routine.
I have done this for many years as has many other teachers I know. After my worst day of teaching, this was the first thing to go; the first change I made.
Do I need to prepare?
Our Heavenly Father prepares a place for us. He is waiting to greet us and excited to see us when we arrive. He doesn’t say “I am glad you are here. Put your things away and go prepare yourself a spot.” No… He is waiting for us. He is eager for our arrival and we can tell he is eager because He has prepared a place for us.
This was the example I looked to. I know not everyone believes in God but I do. This example along with my student was a game changer for me.
Think of it another way. You walk into a restaurant. They greet you. They tell you where to grab the menu from and tell you to go prepare a spot for yourself in that section. Plates, glasses, and utensils can be found in that cubby there. Oh. I almost forgotten the linen, be a dear and put the table cloth on first. The chairs are stacked there. Just grab what you need. If you give me a few minutes to finish up these things, I will be right with you.
Would you feel welcome? Would you believe that they were eager to see you? Would you want to come back? No. I don’t think I would have ever made it to “being a dear and putting the linens out.”
Preparing for Your Students
Yet we do this to our students every day. We ask them to come in and prepare a place for themselves. We stand at the door and smile. We say hello. Actions speak louder than words though. Do you actions actually say you are ready for them?
I know it takes time, valuable time that I don’t have BUT my students are what I value most. I needed to start showing them I was eager for their arrival.
So I prepare for them each day.
I take down their chairs. I place a sharpened pencil on their desk and I go stand at my door way earlier than I should eagerly anticipating when I see the first smiling face round the corner of the hallway. Occasionally I leave a special treat or note.
As I wait, I greet teachers and staff members rushing by. I silently pray they all had a good night and that we will have a great day.
Sometimes, I have a student come in early and they help me prepare. Together we chat and wait for the others to arrive. My students know that I am expecting them. I have prepared for them and I will know if they are not there.
I propose a challenge… for the next month commit to preparing your classroom for your students each morning. This means carving out about 10-15 minutes of time to put down the chairs and lay out the pencils. Leave a note on a random desk or a treat.
Keep track of the changes in your students. How did they react the first day? The Second? Did it change the behavioral issues in your classroom? Are your students ready to learn sooner?
If your classroom is anything like mine or the dozens of teachers I know who are now implementing this strategy, the difference is night and day!
Take a picture of your class and share it with us! Use Hashtags #daisiesandchalk to get our attention and #classroomprep. I can’t wait to hear all of your stories on social media!
If you blog about this, please leave us a comment about your journey. We would love to hear your story about how a simple teacher routine can make all the difference.