Yesterday I got the key to my classroom. There was something genuinely exciting about putting that key in the lock, turning it right--no wait... that didn't unlock it. Left--oh, maybe it was the other way...well--third time's the charm, and I am into my classroom.
There were no lights, and seeing a quiet classroom by windowlight, desks lined up, and white board in front of me was a special feeling. This is it, and I can't wait.
Walking around the school last night, I saw a few teachers and what they are doing to set up their rooms. I had to remind myself that they've been teaching for over 5 years, and there's no way I am supposed to have as much amazing stuff as they do. They were great about giving ideas and sharing resources, though.
One of the best tips I got last night? Set up an extra desk with a blank name card, materials, etc. That way, if you get a new student the first day, they can see that you are ready for them with all of their supplies, and all they have to do is put their name on them. The 3rd grade teacher, from which this recommendation came, says that in the past few years she's done this, she's noticed that it contributes more to excitement and less to first-day anxiety.
A random tip that I got? When putting kids to sleep who are scared of monsters, have them use the "Monster Spray" (a mixture of water with a little fabric softener). That way, the kids can spray their closets and beds, and they can smell the light fragrance and know that no monsters will get out from under the beds.
Gotta love teaching in an elementary school.