Congratulations, you landed a teaching position! Once the excitement wears off, you’ll likely hit full panic mode when you realize that starting with a classroom mid-year isn’t quite as easy as it is in August. Take some deep breaths and get ready to make a difference in the lives of your students. Here are some things you can do to prepare.
1. Have a growth mindset
Don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you from being the best you can be. Keep your expectations for yourself and your students realistic, and know you’re going to have to make some adjustments along the way. Don’t beat yourself up when the “perfect lesson” doesn’t go as planned. Give yourself grace and don’t be too proud or scared to ask for help! Keep things positive! Be sure to avoid negative conversations about your predecessor or the way the class was run before.
2. Get as much information as possible
When you start a new teaching position in the middle of the year, you usually don’t get a district or school orientation, so you are going to have to do some reconnaissance on your own. Here are a few important resources to help you learn about your school and district.
- Teacher Handbook
- District Calendar
- Student Handbook
- Emergency and Safety Procedures
- Scope and Sequence
- Try to get a copy of last year’s yearbook so you can begin to put names to faces with staff, faculty and your students – if they attended the school last year.
3. Met with your team
Even though the semester is over, try to connect with your team via email or LinkedIn. They may be interested in meeting you for lunch or dinner to get to know you. They were once where you are and will gladly answer your questions and “show you the ropes.” If possible, connect with the teacher who worked with students during the first semester. It would help to know what expectations, rules, etc., were in place so you can decide how to handle any changes.
4. Find a mentor
Mentors can make all the difference. A mentor will support you, guide you, give advice, provide feedback, and help you reach your goals. Your campus may have someone at your grade level or an experienced teacher willing to help you get acclimated and offer you support along the way.
5. Learn the curriculum
Find out where to access curriculum and pacing guides. Work with your team as soon as possible to find out specific procedures for lesson plans. You’ll want to get a handle on the first few weeks of planning and know what you’re doing as soon as possible, so you have all the necessary materials.
6. Take a tour of your classroom
It’s important to know what you have available and what supplies you’ll need to get started. If the previous teacher left things, take a little time to organize and clean, but don’t spend a lot of time getting rid of things you think you won’t need, because you just might find some of the items are useful and you’ll be glad you had them.
7. Plan and set up routines and procedures
This is probably one of the most important things you’ll do! Plan your lessons for at least a week, over plan if you have time. It’s always good to have extra activities in case students finish quickly. List the routines and procedures you want to establish in your class. List them out on a chart or somewhere in your classroom so that students are clear on the expectations.
You’re ready to tackle your mid-year class assignment. Remember to stay positive, give yourself grace, ASK QUESTIONS, and don’t be afraid to ask for help! Good Luck!
Teia Hoover Baker is an educator, published author, and entrepreneur. She is an innovative, devoted educator whose career has been dedicated to coordinating programs that support struggling learners. Her passion is meeting students where they are and guiding them to excel. Her main focus is always what is best for children. Teia holds a Bachelor’s in Journalism and a Master’s of Education. In her spare time, she enjoys being Lovie to her growing grandchildren.