Tuesday, August 27, 2013

First Day Success!

We did it, we survived the first day of school for the 2013-2014 year. While all of the students were on their best behavior (of course!) we were able to get to know each of them a little bit today. By we I mean my intern and me. Like many first days of school it was a whirlwind.

I always struggle to balance community building with the massive to do list that I know is important to teach the students. This year I think that we focused a tiny bit more on the community building as I began to realize that there will be time to go over the rules later this week. We set up our classroom expectations and discussed ways in which we learn the best. We talked about fair and what that means. We shared our names again, and again, and again to help each other remember. We took a tour of the building so that we wouldn't get lost. We did a few friendly worksheets to learn how to properly complete assignments and how to properly put names on papers. We turned in the papers so that we could learn the process for that as well.

The more I teach the more I see how important modeling in real situations is to our students. And tonight, as I sit here having been standing all day (in a puddle of water no less...AC is leaking...um..yeah), laughing, feeling overwhelmed, having made 3 anchor charts to start tomorrow for homeroom and math, my to do list longer now than yesterday, I cherish the fact that the following happened today:

  • My intern became a rock star and was the most helpful person in the world
  • No one cried! (not even me!)
  • I completed over half of the items on my lesson plans
  • I met 26 amazing young people
  • I left looking forward to it happening all over again tomorrow.
One of the final things that I do each year is send an email to all of the parents in my homeroom. I try to send it before students leave for the day, and it's just a short email that summarizes a little bit about what we did today and that we all survived. For parents of sixth graders it is nice to hear, and it gives them some ways to talk to their child later. This is just one response that we received tonight (names were removed for privacy):

Dear Ms. Lee (and Mr. xxx),
Thank you so much for this wonderful and inspiring note. 'X' came home today filled with joy - what a GREAT beginning for the new school year! All of us are looking forward to more.

All the best,

Dad and Mom

And that is why I do it :) Best and have a wonderfully relaxing night. If you started already I wish you the best, and that the students keep being good! If you haven't yet, remember how nervous they are feeling too. Prepare what you can but remember that they just need someone to care about them and they will be fine.