Strategies for taking over a class in the middle of the year (Beginning Teachers)

You scored yourself a teaching position! Congratulations!

Unlike starting a job at the beginning of the school year, it is a little different when you are taking over a class that has already been setup.

Honestly, it can be daunting taking over from a class part way through the year especially when it is your first gig. BUT here is what is great about it:

    • The kids will hopefully have good routines in place if you’re taking over from a senior teacher (you might even learn something you hadn’t thought of before)
      • You’ll have a good idea what students’ strengths and weaknesses are from the previous teacher. Have a good read over their semester 1 reports since this will give you greater insights and what the next steps are for students’. Plus, you will know what the parents know about their child academically too.
        • You won’t need to worry about setting up the classroom like you would at the beginning of the year (which is a massive timesaver).
          • Your colleagues are all going to be settled and in the swing of the year so they will have plenty of time to help you settle in and answer any questions you may have!
            • If you continue through to the next school year, you will have all the new school jitters out of the way and you can just focus on your new class.
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Take advantage of these positives.

Taking over a class in the middle of the school year is a unique experience. Because it is different to starting at the beginning of the year, here are some things to consider that is specific to your situation:

Introduce yourself

You may feel overwhelmed as the teacher but the little people in your classroom are walking into the unknown as well. Spend time during the first week getting to know each other (just as you would at the beginning of the school year – here are some icebreaker games that might be helpful). It will also build trust so your new students will feel safe with you.

If you are organised, you could even send them a letter in the school holidays before you start introducing yourself. Find this template below here.

Teacher tip: Consider doing a kahoot quiz or slides about you – we always find kids love this.

Start new traditions

Perhaps think about creating a weekly tradition. Like hosting a dance party, a fun weekly quiz, Milo Monday’s etc. You could also create a new tradition on how you start the day or end the day. This will help create an opportunity for students to get to know you and vice versa thus allowing time for authentic connections.

Reach out to parents

A change of teacher is a change for parents as well. Reach out to parents and introduce yourself and let them know you are free to meet if they want to share with you any specific concerns about their child moving forward. This is going to set you up for positive parent-teacher relationships from the get go.

Looking for some ways to develop positive relationships with parents? Check out this blog post.

Don’t reinvent the wheel

If the subject programs have been written stick closely to them since it’s one less stress to worry about. Make slight adjustments based on the needs of your students.

Also, if you have a teacher colleague / grade partner, get to know them since they will become your biggest ally.

When to make changes

If there are things you want to change – do it gradually over the term. The student will soon get to know who YOU are as a teacher and it is after that, that any changes will be most successful. Remember, kids thrive on routine and knowing what is happening so by keeping things as familiar as possible will help them feel secure (and settled as a result).

Be kind to yourself

You are just learning the ropes of a new school and a new class. This is going to take time and everyone understands. Remember rest is important to be the best possible teacher you can be.

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Good luck for your first big day with your new class. Know that although it can feel scary, the best learning always happens outside our comfort zone (plus we are in your corner cheering you on!)

If you want more support, we have lots of helpful resources, tips and tricks here on our blog. Scroll down to find the best articles for you to read next.

Before you go…

We are hosting a workshop during these school holidays especially for new teachers. We will be talking about classroom management, lesson planning and strategies for teaching the second half of the year. Sign up here to join us.

You might also be interested in our First Year Teacher Survival Guide.

Check it out here.

What to read next

New Teacher advice column (plus a freebie)

7 things we wish we knew as early career teachers

5 secrets to help you have a successful first year of teaching

Our favourite classroom organisation hacks

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