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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Teacher Tuesday: morning routines for the teacher

Yesterday, I told you about my morning routine at home, when I first wake up. By giving myself time to relax, take care of logistics, and solidify my plans for the day, I am able to start each day with a better attitude and be more productive the rest of the day. You can read more about that here.

Today I want to talk about the morning routine I have when I walk into my classroom each morning. I have the same philosophy for the start of my teaching day as I do for my day as a whole: allowing time to relax, take care of logistics, and solidify my plans for the day makes me more productive and positive all day. By establishing a routine for myself each morning, I can feel more confident that I am prepared for the day.

I usually try to allow myself about 30 minutes in my room before my first morning duty starts each day. When I get in, the first thing I do before I even set down my purse is turn on my computer. Unlike my morning at home, when I avoid my computer as long as possible, I want to get my technology pieces going as quickly as possible, so I can trouble-shoot if anything goes wrong. After I turn on my computer, I set down my purse and set my planner, open to that day's lesson plans, on my desk. By that point my computer is on, so I turn on my projector and start connecting my DIY smartboard setup. I depend on being able to use my interactive whiteboard in almost every lesson, so if something is not working I need to know!! While the rest of the technology is booting up, I make sure my seating charts are in order for that day's lessons, and that I have enough happy notes and behavior slips on my clipboard. (click the picture to see the post about my clipboard, which also links to my posts on behavior notes and seating charts)

Once I've got my technology running and my seating charts set up, I sit down with my lesson plans. I copy the basic outline of each lesson I'm teaching onto a small sticky note and put it next to that day's schedule on the class schedule on my music stand (see picture above). I write down just enough to remind myself of what each class is doing, so I can switch gears quickly between classes. Then I get out any materials I need between the first class and my first break (which, depending on the day, is anywhere from 2-6 classes in a row) and set them up so I can quickly get what I need.

By this point it's usually time to head downstairs for morning duty! The final piece of my morning routine is the 10 minutes I have between the end of duty and the beginning of my first class. I try to get everything done before duty so that I have that time to relax before my first class walks in the door. I hate it when I am running around, thinking about 20 different things, right as my students show up! Not only do I feel rushed and out of sorts, but it's takes me longer to focus on the kids- their moods, who's absent, who needs to talk to me- and the lesson material! Those last 10 minutes of time to sit and get focused really help me start the day off on the right foot.

What is the first thing you do when you walk into your classroom? Are you usually rushing in just before the bell, or do you like to come in early?


  1. In my first few years, I rushed. Eventually, I started getting to school before most teachers, and it was such a better experience for me, even if I did have to get up early to accomplish it :)

    1. I just can't imagine that, no matter how much of a night owl you are, running in at the last minute is a good strategy for any teacher! Being a morning person, my first few years of teaching (before I had kids) I got to work at least 2 HOURS before school most days...