This one is for my teacher friends,
Today is a BIG day, one that you most likely prepared for the ENTIRE summer (yup, I know teachers get the summers off 😉 , off to prep and prepare for the next slue of kiddos!) You’re classroom is in pristine condition – de-buggered, free of germs, stocked full of glue sticks and whole-sharpened pencils with erasers. You ARE READY.
You are until those excited kids of yours (whom you will have to call hun or sweetie for the first week or so) come running or sobbing down the hallway. You realize that those kids you taught and whipped into shape, those ones you sent home in June are NOT these kids. You have to start over. You have to teach them EVERYTHING over. You have to learn how to deal with a whole new set of students – personalities, learning styles, behavior funness (or lack there of), and the best of it all is learning about their parents.
This is my second school year that I have been a stay-at-home mom and I have to admit that the Facebook posts of all the “When I Grow Up – First Day of School” signs make me a bit envious of you teachers. I know, I know WHY you ask? Yup, I MUST be completely INSANE to want to be back in the classroom on days like today and I am. I think back to my first few weeks – the heartache, the tears, the endless amounts of paperwork, and the dreaded parent emails claiming that I was an “inadequate human being” (I will go into that story at a later time). I want to be where you are at today but then I think about it and would rather join you somewhere in December or January when the kids are nice and ironed out. When routines are set and learning is taking place, better yet you can trust you’re students to have fun with school and SMILE (college professors always taught us teachers to not smile until after Christmas in fear that behaviors would be far too bad if you allowed any fun to be had before that point).
I would like to share a bit of advice for you today on your first day back that might make your year (or even your first week) run a bit smoother:
- Utilize You’re Support System
I had a VERY active and challenging group of students my third year. I literally left the classroom crying every day for the first month. I was at my wits end and was ready to throw in the towel, until I talked to a fellow teacher. She gave me advice that I will pass along, utilize the deans and principal. This was a great piece of advice. I was afraid to let anyone know that I was struggling and needed help, but boy did I need help! I cried to the principal (not be best moment), talked with my dean many, many times, used my “walkie talkie” when I had “runners” or other unsafe incidents and asked them to come observe the behaviors in hopes that we could work together to figure this out. It was not solved over night, but I made it through the year and had a ton of support.
2. Don’t Answer EMAILS At Home
Don’t even start! Seriously. If you start out by making yourself available 24/7, then that is the standard you will set for the remainder of the year. I was getting 10 to 15 parent EMAILS every night that third year, I was in over my head. I even had a parent who would email me at 1 AM and be at my classroom door at 8 AM questioning why I had not responded to the email that was sent. I was feeling pressured to answer them simply because lack of time during the school day and I was scared that if I didn’t answer them right away, they would become upset with me. I want to remind you that you need a life as well, I have a family and the emails were interrupting my family time that I had so little of during the school year. Try to make a rule (you don’t have to put this in a parent newsletter) of a 24-48 hour turn-over or response rate. Give yourself a break from your job and set aside time to answer them while you are at school.
3. Enjoy You’re Students
I learned A LOT that third year of teaching and one piece of advice my dean told me was to focus on the kids who WERE behaving. I was spending SO much time focusing on the students who were NOT behaving, that I had neglected to get to know those who were. I took a step back and really started to focus on those who were behaving, teaching them and having fun with them – it changed the entire attitude of the classroom around. Those who were NOT behaving did their thing, but I did not give them the attention they may have wanted (unless they were being unsafe of course). I had such a good group of students that I didn’t even realize because my focus was solely on those who were not behaving. Take the time and try hard to have fun with the students who are following directions and excited to be at school, it will change the attitude of the classroom and yours!
The first few weeks (or even the first few months) are no walk in the park or really too much fun. You have to be the enforcer and make the students practice sitting in their seats, walk down the hallway, among many other procedures – this is no fun for anyone. So cry when you get in your car to go home and vent to your fellow teachers – only 3 months until Thanksgiving break!
Thanks for stopping by!