This guide seeks to provide a launching pad for teachers who find themselves overwhelmed and unsure when it comes to teaching English Language Learner students. While some concrete suggestions are incorporated, the primary goal of the guide is to start teachers thinking about their own perceptions and how they compare to the principles that should drive effective ELL education through concise explanations of Stanford University’s six principles for ELL education and field observations that compare one example of an upper elementary school classroom to these principles. As the title suggests, this attention towards guiding principles and personal perceptions is a necessary ‘step one’ before researching and implementing the most appropriate lessons and/or programs. Before an educator can decide what to do he/she should ask why do it? And how?