August always brings so many emotions for me. The idea that the summer is almost over, that it is time to begin transitioning my thoughts away from the simplicity of summer days where, for me, the greatest decision is which flavor of ice cream to eat, to thoughts of the school days on the horizon. There is nothing like having a good chunk of time in the year to step out of your professional life and back into yourself, finally reflecting on YOU and your needs. Now, that is not to say that teachers do not work over the summer. I do not know a single teacher who does not continue to develop curriculum, read current books related to their content areas and pedagogical exploration, reassess and rework projects and PBL units that need a little love, and think about strategy regarding assessment throughout the summer. However, there is something great about being able to do it over a cup of steaming hot coffee in your PJs (or is that just me?).
August also brings a wave of excitement for me. I still get those butterflies in my stomach when I think of the first day of school and meeting all my new students. There is so much possibility in that first day. The untapped possibility that fills the room with nervous energy as the students survey you and their classmates. The brimming possibility of meaningful relationships with these developing humans. And, the possibility of inspiring these incredible young people to find and develop their own sense of purpose; who they are, where they fit in the world, and the responsibility that comes with that. We teach our content, of course we do, but we do so much more than that. We cheer these kiddos on when they finally understand the problem, we pat them on the back when they demonstrate that they get it, and we beam with pride at the end of the year when they walk out of our classrooms, ready to take on the world. Is this a bit idealistic? Yes. Is every day this inspiring? No. But could it be? Absolutely. I worked with a teacher this summer who told me that her goal was to make every student that comes into her classroom smile, every day. Will that happen? Who knows but let’s high five to her for trying. This is the year. This is YOUR year! Let’s make it happen!
Teach well friends!
A CLASSROOM WHERE EVERYONE FEELS WELCOME.
As we prepare our classrooms for the new group of students that will come in on day 1, each wearing their own armor of protection, be it humor, silliness, nonchalance, disinterest, or disengagement, it is important to be ready to meet them where they are and to really SEE them. Getting to know our students and forming relationships takes time but Janice Wyatt-Ross shares six tried and true ways to embrace each student so that they feel seen and welcomed into your world from the beginning. This article offers suggestions from learning your students names and how to pronounce them correctly to seeing yourself as your students see you as a few of the ways to engage authentically with your students from the very beginning of the year.
EVERY KID NEEDS A CHAMPION!