The first day of school can be exciting, scary, and overwhelming for students, parents and teachers. Students are navigating new territory and expectations. Parents are grappling with conflicting emotions about leaving their children. They want the impossible…to protect them and let them fly independently. Teachers are instantaneously attempting to greet & make a good impression with each new student (and possibly their parents), establish classroom rules & expectations, gather & organize information that is imperative for the front office to have BEFORE 8:30, get parents out of the classroom by the 1st bell without offending any of them, etc. In short, everyone is stressed out!
As a special education teacher, I do not have a specific homeroom. I float and/or run around trying to help wherever I can. While doing this, these are the most frequent questions that I ask and hear during the first day of school.
- “What grade are you in?” – This helps us get going in the right direction, literally. Instead of standing in a crowd by the door and causing the student to panic and get overwhelmed, we can start walking toward the correct hallway.
- “What’s your teacher’s name?” – If your child can share this information, I can tell him/her how lucky they are to have that teacher. I can also tell them some fun facts about their teacher and point out landmarks along the way to the classroom.
- “How are you getting home?” – This is one of the most important things that the front office and teachers need to know on the first day of school. As happy as we are to see the students, we are responsible for making sure that every single student gets home safely at the end of the day. Will your child be a walker, car rider, or bus rider? *Bonus points if your child can tell the number and/or color of the bus that they ride (some elementary schools label the buses by color so that the students don’t have to remember a 4 digit bus number).
By teaching this information to your child, you can help everyone feel a little more confident on the first day of school.
What are some other things that students, parents, and/or teachers can do beforehand to make the first day of school go as smoothly as possible?