I know I'm not the first, and I'm sure I won't be the last to jump on the latest post from Ms. Cornelius over at A Shrewdness of Apes. Apparently, unlike the Dallas school district, which seems to do most of its new hiring in mid-August, Ms. C's school district hires around the beginning of July, so she has posted some guidelines for New Teachers.
It's an excellent post, actually. Very informative, very accurate, and full of great advice. If anyone reading MY blog is a non-teacher, looking to become a teacher, I would highly recommend that you hop on over there and check out her column. She'll have you saying, "Who is this Wang guy again?"
Just to add some emphasis to one of her major points -- plan out your rules and your systems in advance! You need to have these in place on the first day! Don't try to play it by ear, or think you can just wing it -- YOU might be able to adapt rapidly, but the kids will not. Think of the ten most important rules to you, and then combine similar rules and eliminate unnecessary rules until you are down to your top four or five. Always putting the caps back on markers may be very important to you, but it is not important enough to warrant a major Class Rule. Believe me, five rules will be hard enough to enforce; you won't have any luck with more than that. Spend the first week going over and practicing these rules. Throughout the school year, you will be able to reinforce them, but only if they are set firmly in place from the get go.
Again, go read Ms. Cornelius's post. It's well worth it.