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New Teacher Assist Home


Teaching: The First Weeks and Beyond

Classroom Organization

Classroom Managment

Developing Instructional Routines

Handling Disruptive Students

Discipline in Specific Situations

Encouraging Cooperations

Grading and Report Cards

Parent Conferences

Building a Professional Image

Preparing for a Substitute

Dealing with Dangerous Students

Links to Professional Resources

Improving Teaching: Tips and Standards

Good Advice from Montana Teachers

Advice about Your Employment

Managing Your Money

MEA-MFT Contacts


Teaching: The First Weeks and Beyond

During the first few weeks of school, it is important for every new teacher, or even an experienced teacher new to a building, to learn about that school.


The following check-list of questions will help you, whether you ask them of a mentor teacher, an administrator, or simply another member of the school staff who may be in the know. We encourage you to print this check-list, ask the questions, and keep the answers close at hand for future reference.


Questions every first year teacher should ask before the first weeks of school:


Materials and Learning Tools 

  • Where and how do I get supplies?
  • How do I check out textbooks?
  • How do I sign my class up for the library?
  • What's the procedure for computer use?
  • Where is the computer usage policy form?
  • What machines are available for me to use-copier, computer, VCR, DVD, laminator, etc.?
  • What is the school policy for using supplemental materials? Can I bring in books, articles, etc.? 

Procedures and Routines 

  • What are the procedures for taking a class to an assembly?
  • When am I responsible for locking my room?
  • How do I make arrangements for a field trip?
  • What are the attendance accounting procedures for students, and what are my responsibilities in attendance record keeping?
  • Is there a formal or informal dress code for teachers?
  • What are the emergency procedures for the school?
  • What is the rule regarding guests in the building?
  • What should I do if I must leave my room during class?
  • What should I do in case of a medical emergency in my classroom?
  • Whom do I call to let the school know I am sick?
  • What is the school's policy regarding substitutes?
  • How do I apply for personal, professional, vacation, or sick leave?
  • Is there a policy for use of e-mail, computers, Internet? What is allowed and prohibited? Is there a form I need to sign? (If so, read the form carefully so you know exactly what you can and cannot do.)

Teaching, Grading, and Learning 

  • What are the grading guidelines for the school system? What documentation must I provide?
  • What are the timelines and procedures for report cards?
  • What curricular and other support is available to back me up with special needs students?
  • To whom do I report serious problems with a student's health or behavior?
  • What student records must I maintain in cumulative folders?
  • Is there a school sponsored "homework hotline” or other formal communication tool between parents and teachers?
  • What procedures do other teachers in my school follow for contacting parents by letter or phone?
  • How often am I evaluated? Is there advance notice of performance evaluations?
  • Where can I get a copy of my master agreement? (Also known as your contract or collective bargaining agreement. You need to READ your contract carefully!)
  • How do I handle a fight between students?
  • How do I report a disciplinary problem?
  • What is my personnel file and what is in it? (Read your contract concerning your personnel file.)
  • Where do I go if I am having trouble?
  • Who is my local union president?
  • Who is my union building representative? Have I met this person?