Monday, September 1, 2014

A Weekly Reflection: 1. Tackling the 1st Day of School

While reading the materials for the first weekly assignment in AEE 412, one topic stood out to me above the rest, tackling the first day of school.  It's a hot topic among new and beginning teachers, from deciding what lesson plan to use to choosing the appropriate dress to make the right first impression.

What you do on the first days of school will determine your success or failure for the rest of the school year.  You will either win or lose your class on the first days of school.

There is an incredible amount of pressure that comes along with the first days of school and it is up to us teachers to get the ball rolling.  Our tone on the first day will resonate throughout the rest of the school year so it's important to hit the target dead on.

The first day, and really the first year, can be intimidating for a new teacher.  The four statements below come from one of the assigned articles and are scary for a preservice teacher to read, but are all true.  
So how do we as new teachers begin our first day of school knowing that we are likely going to face situations we haven't experienced before?  We take a moment to remember why we signed up for this in the first place; to impact the lives of students.  Teaching is an art, and it takes time.  According to one of the articles, there are four stages of teaching: 
  1. Fantasy- thinking that this whole teaching thing is going to be a breeze
  2. Survival- literally trying to survive each day...
  3. Mastery- getting a rhythm, delivering material, and seeing results 
  4. Impact- positively effecting your program, your community, and the lives of your students.
When we walk in the door on our first day of student teaching or the first day in our own classroom, we will be scared and probably unprepared.  But if we enter the door with a "Stage 3" attitude (skipping the irrational fantasy and the scary survival stages), ready to deliver our first lesson and establish ourselves as educators in our classroom, our "Stage 3" attitudes will develop into a full-fledged "Stage 4" Impact-fest in no time at all!

I have taken from these readings that the first day of school will be a challenge; but it isn't about how much you know or becoming best friends with your students, its about establishing yourself as an effective and efficient educator right from the get-go.  

Want some additional advice from a seasoned teacher on making this year the best year ever? Check out this Edutopia Article on preparing for the first days of school!

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