Press Release

Educator and author creates a free School Year Starter Kit to help rookies cut through information overload and focus on the first day.

With teacher shortages growing in many states and one in ten teachers quitting by the end of their first year, it’s more important than ever to help rookies get a good start to the year – something many districts try to address during New Teacher Orientation. Yet NTOs often leave out the main subject on teachers’ minds: The first day of school. To address this, educator and author Roxanna Elden has created a new, free tool: The School Year Starter Kit.

The Starter Kit is deceptively simple – a free, three day email series with links to all the basics teachers need to prepare for the first day. Among them: Suggested classroom rules. Tips on how to assign seats and remember student names. A ten-day countdown checklist. Everything in the kit serves as a reference rather than a reading assignment.

Elden spoke with hundreds of teachers about their first-year experiences for her book, See Me After Class: Advice for Teachers by Teachers. She also attended these events herself as a beginner in two different school districts. She’s found that teachers recall a surprisingly similar experience – orientations combine fire-hose levels of information with inspirational parables. Bette Midler’s song, Wind Beneath My Wings, is a staple. Says Elden: “This means the message we send teachers right before they step into their first classroom is: ‘You are the wind beneath kids’ wings. Your job is to be the force of nature that keeps children from dropping out of the sky. But also, be confident! Students can sense when you’re not confident. Now, read this binder that describes our evaluation system.’”

The Starter Kit also includes advice from Elden’s own keynote speeches, which she gives at New Teacher Orientations around the country, in which she compares the first day of teaching to an airport. “When students walk in, you are airport security. Say, ‘good morning. Your seat is here. Your first assignment is here.’”

Later, teachers will become flight attendants, and then pilots, with different duties and demeanors throughout the day. The first few minutes of class, however, is not the time to have individual, personal conversations with students. “Your job at this point is to get everyone on board quickly and efficiently. Greet. Seat. Repeat.” 

For teachers who worry that this might make them seem unfriendly, Elden reminds teachers that, “Everyone on that plane wants airport security to be able to do their jobs. The same is true for your students. They want to sense that you have control of the class so you can teach them. Your first day should be the most structured day of the year, not the most fun.”

Link to School Year Starter Kit signup form: http://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/d.jsp?llr=u8p7nvuab&p=oi&m=1121705672564&sit=5xoggz9jb&f=174a0d7f-0b58-429a-af7a-b4df10baa63c

Link to a blog post introducing the series: http://roxannaelden.com/2016/07/schoolyearstarterkit/

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Roxanna Elden is the author of See Me After Class: Advice for Teachers by Teachers. The book is a funny, honest, practical guide that shares tips and stories from teachers around the country. Since 2009, the book – now in its second edition – has helped thousands of new teachers transition from training to the classroom. Visit www.roxannaelden.com for more information.

Contact: Roxanna Elden|786-423-5082 | roxannaelden@gmail.com


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