PMP:018 First Days of School Questions that Work All Year Long

My school is preparing for the last days of school, but Episode 18 of the PMPodcast shares ideas from Harry Wong’s First Days of School–ideas that work all year long.Principal-Matters-Artwork-3000x3000 Communication about the basics is essential for healthy school communities. Go here to check out the original blog post that accompanies this podcast.

Here are the show-notes for Episode 18

Harry Wong likes to remind teachers of seven things students will want to know on the first day of school:

“Am I in the right room?
Where am I supposed to sit?
Who is the teacher as a person?
Will the teacher treat me as a human being?
What are the rules in this classroom?
What will I be doing this year?
How will I be graded?”

Learning to manage and instruct at the same time is key to a great classroom. It is also key to a strong education team, organization, or school.
A wise superintendent once told me, “Think of every setting–whether you are with children or adults–as a classroom.”
In other words, adults are no different than students when it comes to the need to know what to expect.
With that in mind, here are seven questions we should anticipate our teachers or staff will have before the first days of school:
1. What is my schedule?
2. What extra duties or assignments might I expect?
3. Who is my supervisor or administrator as a person?
4. Will he/she treat me as a human being?
5. What are the expectations, procedures, policies in our school?
6. What am I expected to accomplish this year?
7. How will I be evaluated?


Just as we take children from different backgrounds and skill levels, and teach and guide them toward common goals and outcomes–the same can be true of every setting. Whether it is a board meeting, public speaking, faculty  meetings, parent conferences, or first days of school, don’t forget the simple but wise advice that good leadership is simply good teaching.

Now It’s Your Turn

What steps have you taken to communicate this clearly throughout your school year? Are there any follow-ups you can be doing to make sure your team knows what to expect for whatever season is next in your school?

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William D. Parker
William D. Parker