The new school year is here for many of us. Where did the summer go? The store's shelves are filled with new school supplies. If you are like me, you have been taking advantage of the sales so you can stock your cabinets. It's time to put up new posters, bulletin boards, and new air fresheners. I just try to make sure my room looks clean, neat, and smells good. I do like to hang motivational posters, etc. that might make a difference to at least one of my students.
I just finished reading the book Fires in the Middle School Bathroom:Advice to Teachers from Middle Schoolers by Kathleen Cushman and Laura Rogers. The book provides an insight into how middle school students think, feel and learn. Most of the material was gathered from 40 students in five cities. I found it very interesting.
I try to remember that my students (especially my 7th graders) are nervous about coming to middle school. They are not use to changing classes, having 6 different teachers and NO RECESS. These are some of the issues I try to cover the first week:
1. discuss the class and school rules
2. make sure the rules are posted in the room
3. get correct phone number and address for each student
4. discuss homework expectations
5. discuss what they will be doing in my class each day
As you go back to your school and to the mandatory district workshops and meetings and the hundred other things that are thrown at us, try to relax and make it your goal that this will be your best teaching year you have ever had! Here are some suggestions:
1. treat all students equally and fairly
2. make a difference in someone's life
3. mentor a new teacher
4. encourage an experienced teacher
5. concentrate on the positive aspects of your school
6. learn something new (a new language, computer skills, the tango)
7. become a better listener
I hope everyone has a successful and exciting year!