What I’ve learned about the first day

Tuesday marked the beginning of my eighteenth year of teaching. While the school year is filled with a variety of excitement and wonder, the first day of school seems almost magical.  Yet, having done the “first day” eighteen times, I’ve started to develop some observations about this special day of school.  Some of these observations are more like advice while others are basically predictions.

1.No matter how many extra copies I think I’ve made I will inevitably be short by at least 1 copy.  I might count them ahead of time.  I may have made sure that I added together all of my students scheduled for 1st and 3rd period but nonetheless, I will be short on copies.

2.I have to retrain my stomach and my bladder.  No longer do I have free reign of when I can eat nor when I can leave my room.  Welcome to monitoring liquid intake over the next ten months.

3. The technology application I’ve practiced 10 times will not work or will crash when I need it. Naturally my lesson is based all around the use of this app. However, here’s the good news– because I’m a teacher, I know how to punt and create a workaround.

4. A senior who knows his/her way around our building (he/she’s been attending for years) will suddenly forget how to navigate the hallway and will be late to 2nd period.  Somehow they’ve figured out that we don’t count tardies on the first day of school.

5. The day is best spent getting to know your students instead of teaching content.  Save that content for the next 179 days of the year.  Building the foundation for a positive class climate will make teaching the content far more manageable and enjoyable.

6. Those heels I thought I could pull off- nope. One of these days running shoes will be fashionable with dresses.  I’m patiently waiting on this fashion trend.

7. No feeling can ever match how it feels to look out at your room right before the students walk in.  Teachers spend days, even weeks, preparing for the first day.  It’s exciting to think of all of the learning that is going to happen in our classroom over the next ten months.

8. Students want to feel successful from the very start.  The first day is the silver lined cloud. Our relationship with students helps determine how long that lining remains.

9.  I have a better afternoon when I’ve had lunch with my colleagues. Spending some time talking about topics unrelated to our work helps shift my brain and allows me the opportunity to have a break in my day.  I am more effective when I take a break in the middle of my day– even if it’s for just thirty minutes.

10. I can never have enough pens and pencils.  The 40 Ticonderogas I bought before school started and placed in the extra pencil cup will be gone within two weeks.

11. I have to retrain my hand on the size of an Expo versus a Sharpie. I am incredibly thankful for those newly formulated white board cleaners.

12. Meeting students at the door generates a sense of hospitality.  This is their classroom, not mine. I just happen to spend more time in it than they do.  

13. I create opportunities so students can laugh. This is a big one, folks.  If we can laugh on day one we’ve begun to build a positive environment where students can let down their guard. I know that my students see me as an expert.  I have degrees and awards on the wall.  They’ve heard stories about me.  But I also want them to see me as approachable.  We inherently feel more comfortable working with people with whom we can share a laugh or two (or many).

What observations have you made about the first day?

 

7 thoughts on “What I’ve learned about the first day

  1. Kimberly Novak

    Great reflection … I found that making copies too early means that I forgot where I put them and that I even copied them! Smile!

    Reply
  2. Maren Johnson

    You have hit some true points here!

    I spent about ten years being short one copy, no matter how many I made. Then I knew I had moved to far in the direction of too many copies when my student teacher started making comments about saving the trees! 🙂

    The other point that really resonated with me–friendly lunch with colleagues. The relationships I built with colleagues during lunch kept me going when times got tough.

    Reply
  3. Jan Kragen

    I sauntered into the lunchroom, causally visiting with my friends. Suddenly my head snapped toward the clock. Oh my gosh, I’m still on I-have-all-the-time-in-the-world-for-lunch summer mode! I need to EAT! As I adjust to the speed of moving from one part of the day to the next, I need to remind myself of the value of relaxing and taking time to breathe.

    Reply
    1. Shari Conditt

      Are you fully adjusted? : ) I think my stomach has finally gotten used to being back to the limited lunch time mode.

      Reply
  4. Help me do my assignment

    The first day at college or school is an exciting one as it expands to new things and lets the communication bridge between the students and teachers. Thanks for sharing your experience on this. Hope to read more posts from you.

    I have had this experience of meeting my friends and having that sense of apprehension of how will we gel with them and also regarding the studies on how do we cope up with it.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *