Thursday, August 5, 2010

Suggestions for a Worry Free Year


As a new school year is about to begin, there are a number of things that our members should review. Whether a first year teacher or a seasoned veteran, these suggestions are intended to help make your school year worry free. Here, in no particular order of importance, are some items to stop and think about.

Document Review
  • Have you read your Master Contract so as to familiarize yourself with the general terms and conditions of your employment?
  • Have you read your Job Description to familiarize yourself with the School District’s expectations of you?
  • Have you read your Individual Contract to be sure it conforms to the Master Contract and correctly describes your teaching duties?
  • Have you read the appropriate sections of the School District’s Board Policy?
  • Have you read your Faculty Handbook for any additional expectations?
  • Have you read the Student Handbook to see what the students and their parents are being told?

Classroom Management
  • Have you discussed with your supervisor what expectations and rules the District requires be followed?
  • Have you discussed the School District’s discipline rules and procedures with your supervisor?
  • Have you discussed the School District’s, and your own, discipline rules and procedures with your students?
  • Have you discussed your expectations and rules with your students?
  • Have you discussed your teaching style with your students?
  • Have you discussed your grading system with your students?

Personnel File
  • Have you checked your personnel file?
  • Do you know what’s in it?
  • Has anything (positive or negative) been added during the year?
  • Is there anything in the file that should not be there?


  • Have you read and reviewed the Evaluation Article in your Master Contract?
  • Are you scheduled to be evaluated this school year?
  • Have you discussed your upcoming evaluation with your supervisor?
  • Has a mutually agreeable schedule of events been arranged with your supervisor?
  • Are there any particular areas of interest that your supervisor will be assessing this year?

Does your teaching license need to be renewed?
  • Have you met all of the renewal requirements?
  • Are there any changes to your license that need to be made?
  • Does your teaching assignment reflect your license?
  • Does your employer have a current copy of your license, etc.?

Computer Access
  • Are you familiar with the School District’s policy regarding computer access and acceptable use?
  • Have you been provided a written copy of any such policy?
  • Are you permitted to ever use the school computer for non-school reasons (i.e., personal e-mail, personal research, Association communications, etc)?
  • Are there certain uses that are specifically not allowed?
  • Are you ever expected to allow students to use your computer?
  • Will anyone else be able to access your computer?
  • Do you have your own individual password/access code?
After Hours Communication with Students/Parents
  • Even though the school day may be over, remember that you’re still a teacher.
  • Use the same care interacting with students/parents after hours as throughout the school day.
  • Does your School District have a policy regarding their expectations, etc.?
  • When, and if, such communication is necessary, what is your preferred method of communication (i.e., telephone, e-mail, text message, etc.)?
  • When should a student/parent expect an answer to their inquiry?
  • Do you keep copies of all such communications (any inquiries as well as any responses)?

Additionally, although there is probably no such thing as a “normal” day in your classrooms, be sure to always document anything that is unusual, especially if it involves a problem with a student or parent. When something out of the ordinary occurs, it is always a good idea to report it to your immediate supervisor as soon as possible. Lastly, when in doubt, Ask. Your Building Representative and UniServ Director are there to help.