Many first-year teachers get their first job by taking a classroom over mid-year. It can be a stressful process because being a new teacher is overwhelming enough, let alone taking over someone else’s classroom and routines mid-year.
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In my last year of teaching, we had a teacher on our team who had to leave mid-year. Actually, like March. So more than mid-year. Finding a competent teacher able to take on this task with only three months of school left was no easy task.
During the process of interviews and creating a plan for this class, we had to get someone in there temporarily. Since the previous teacher took all of her materials with her, the students were essentially left with the barebones of a classroom and no teacher.
This backstory will set the rest of the framework for this post.
Taking Over a Classroom Mid Year
When taking over a classroom mid-year you have to be incredibly intentional with every little thing you do. Students have spent the last few months with a teacher who did things one way. Now you want to come in and do things different.
It is also likely that the students in that class will exhibit behavioral issues either because their teacher left or because that is the reason their teacher left.
It might be tempting to rush into the classroom and set it up, decorate it, and get it into working order- all important things! But it is arguably more important that you create a plan for student management. Here are a few resources to help you out:
- Important Routines Classroom Teachers Need
- Master Your Classroom in 2020 Free Workshop
- Mid Year Classroom Tune-Up: How to have an organized classroom, revamp your management plans, and not lose your mind!
- 4 Must Have Behavior Management Plans
- Kickstart Your School Year Course
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Setting Up a Classroom Mid Year
The weekend after this teacher left, our Principal, Assistant Principal, Instructional Coaches, and I spent the afternoon getting the classroom in working order.
If you are taking over a classroom mid-year, here are some steps you can follow to help you get the classroom set up in an organized fashion.
Here are some before pictures of the classroom we were setting up.
First, we started by taking everything left in the classroom and sorting them into piles. This way we knew what resources, bins, tools, and other classroom things we had to work with.
2. Create a Plan
It’s hard to see in this picture, but on the whiteboard, I wrote out a plan. We wrote out the things we needed to do and prioritized the items on the list. This helped to keep us all focus because it is so easy to get distracted when setting up a classroom. It also let everyone know what we each needed to be working on.
The Classroom Makeover Guide is a great place to start as you create your plan for your new classroom (either new to you or just a new feel to your old classroom!).
3. Set Up the Classroom
Next, we rearranged the classroom desks and the other furniture in the classroom to make it more accessible. The flow of a classroom is so important in creating an organized space.
Remember to push things up against the walls, create ample space to walk around the classroom, and think through the transitions the kids will do during the day. You want to have room for all of that.
It’s so important to set up a classroom in an organized way. This way you know where things are, your kids know where things are, and you have homes for everything.
I started with the teacher’s desk because it’s one of my favorite places to organize in the classroom! (My Classroom Organization Guidebook breaks down exactly how to organize a teacher desk.)
Lastly, you’ll want to decorate and make the classroom “cute” or “cozy.” My new favorite word is hygge and I devoted a whole podcast episode to how to make your classroom have the hygge vibe to it.
Since there were five of us, fueled by pizza, some were decorating while others were moving furniture or organizing materials. If you are all by yourself in the classroom, then I suggest saving decorating for last.
You can check out the complete process of setting up a classroom at the beginning of the year here. Depending on the classroom you are taking over, you might be able to follow that process instead.
Whether you are taking over a classroom mid-year, want to revamp your classroom over the holiday break, or just are looking for inspiration on how to practically set up a classroom, you need to make sure you have a plan.
All Classroom Organization is, is intetional planning. Anyone can do it, even you! Download the Classroom Makeover Guide to help you make your dreams into a plan and then into reality!
Get all the help you need revamping your classroom mid-year or changing up your management plans while the school year is in session with the Mid Year Tune Up Course. This course will give you the tools you need to manage your time better, prioritize classroom organization, improve your management, and help you with the routines you need when coming back to school after a break.
Until next time,
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