The first full day with students is always challenging. I still have classroom set up things that I want to take care of (read: love putting things on my walls but also saw a quote that read “don’t make it look like Pinterest threw up on your wall” and that has stuck with me). Students come to your class at the wrong time, late, or too early. You have the utopia of school still fresh on your mind from summer but the reality sets in and you realize that you sometimes have to have Tim Gunn moments where you need to “make it work”. However, through it all I have to admit that I am less stressed than previous years and that is a definite improvement.
I tried some of Sara Van Der Werf’s ideas for my first day. I’ve had 17 years of first days and this was a good one. I will never forget about 10 years ago when students actually started fighting on the very first day (not my fault as they were continuing an argument from the summer and one student was eventually expelled for continuing that behavior in other classes, but I digress). Anything shy of that start is a good one :). I will admit that I miss the #TLAP playdoh beginning, but I have a feeling that I will use playdoh at some point this year in my classes 🙂 and #TLAP is so much more than JUST day 1, though day 1 is important. One of the best parts of Sara’s feedback form is that I got to know some things about students that I never would have known otherwise. One student noted that he is hard of hearing and he liked where he sat today. Another student gave a shout out to her previous teacher (who also happened to be transferred to another school in our district) and when I texted him what she wrote he said that it made his day. I was floored at the honesty of my students and can’t wait to see what they write for the remainder of the week. One of my favorites is below:
When I declared my major in college I said the same exact thing. I believed it too until a couple of years into teaching. My hope is that at the end of this year, she will value the multiple ways to a right answer that took me so long to appreciate.
I’ve started using #teach180 on my Twitter. What is #teach180? Check it out here. This is the first year that I have told my students that I have a Twitter and I actually gained a new follower :). I’m interested in seeing if I can leverage this form of communication to better my practice. I like the idea of pictures and 140 character reflections on the day moving past #blaugust.