Mistakes teachers make the first weeks of school … part 3

… that may result in behaviour issues throughout all the school year.

Here is part 3 of the most common mistakes teachers make during the first weeks of school. If you want to check out part 1  please click here!    

3. Not having set expectations

Many new teachers I have met are not aware of how much the first week sets the tone for the entire year. The first weeks are crucial and can easily decide if you will have a well functioning classroom or the exact opposite.

If you think you can deal with issues later when they happen and just live in the moment, your students will already have the habit of doing whatever they have been doing and it will be extremely difficult to get to change them.
If you show them in the first weeks that they don’t have to respect things you say, how do you want them to respect you or your procedures in the upcoming months? You already taught them how to treat you and the things you say.

Now many teachers come up with systems such as clip charts, the traffic light system, brag tags … and they wonder why things don’t work as great as they should. After all, those methods work great for other teachers, why not with me? One of the points is certainly what I will talk about under point number 4 of the mistakes teachers often make, so bear with me.

But another one, which is just as important, is to set expectations. What do I expect from the children in my class and what can they expect from me? How can they behave according to my expectations if I never really shared them with them and taught them (again modelling is the best way to get the habit of things).

No system in the world can work if the ones that should abide by it don’t know what is expected from them in the first place. And I’m not talking about the few rules that we often like to put on posters and hang on the wall like “look, listen, etc”.

This is where the freebie comes into play! You have a wide variety of behaviours, good and bad ones, so you can teach your students what you expect from them and what not.