More thoughts prompted from working with an intern (pre-service teacher):
I spend a lot of the first part of the year banging my head against a wall. Not literally, of course. Before we can really dig into academics there are a lot of routines and skills I want to be sure are well established and ingrained.
Some of those are obvious, like getting the attention of the class while they're busy around the room or lining up and walking down the hall. I would guess most teachers practice, practice, practice those skills at the start of each year.
We spend the first couple of week in the computer lab practicing logging on the computers. I know other teachers log their students on rather than take all the time involved in having students do it themselves. I completely understand that.
I've made the decision however, to have my students learn this skill because I know it will be worth it later. Not only does banging my head against this wall for a couple of weeks mean they are able to log on independently for the rest of the year but also they learn the control, alt, and delete buttons and how to type an upper case letter.
It has taken me a long time to learn that banging my head for a bit early on will save me time and frustration throughout the year. The more my first graders can do independently, the more time I can spend on meaningful interactions with them.
Polaroid Remixes from jcmedina's flickr