Thursday, August 5, 2010

What I Won't Do on the First Day of School

Ahh, teachers in America are getting excited, nervous, anxious now that the first day of school is inching ever closer.  People are sharing classroom photos, ideas, as well as posts on what they intend to do on the first day of school.  These always give me such inspiration for change, such as this one by the fantastic Larry Ferlazzo, but I started to think, so what do I not want to do on the first day of school?

This year, I promise my students to not:

  • Sit behind my desk and wave at you, but instead be in the hallway, smiling.
  • Expect you to put everything away and stay organized, after all, learning can be kind of messy.
  • Hand you a folder with paperwork to fill out so that I can get to know you better.  Real community comes from conversation.
  • Give you a list of my rules; we will make expectations together.
  • Welcome you to "my room," it is our room!
  • Talk about all of the homework you will have, instead I will share the great knowledge we will uncover.
  • Tell you how you can earn rewards; no stickers, stars or trinkets in here - knowledge is our reward.
  • Pretend that I know what you are going to say or only partially listen; you are my focus and will be the whole year.
  • Run to the teacher's lounge and share stories about those kids that I have.  Instead I will share just how phenomenal this year will be.
  • Pretend that I have all of the answers or am the absolute authority in the room; this is a journey we take together and you get to teach me as well.
  • Hide that I am nervous.  I don't know you either so, of course, I am nervous.
  • Tell you how to get an "A."  Learning is not about grading, it is about learning, so grades will not be a main focus.
  • Second-guess everything I said or did; I will trust in myself and hope you do the same.
  • Be afraid to try something you suggested; after all, what is the harm in trying?
So ask yourself, what do you not want to do on the first day of school?  I am sure many more ideas will pop into my head.


Steve Davis said...

I will not do ice breaker activities!

I do not understand why many teachers are nice the first few days of school and then are mean the rest of the school year!

Karyn said...

I won't worry if we don't get everything I planned done!

Mr. Macdonald said...

I will not sacrifice quality for quantity (practice, learning opportunities, assessments, student communication, etc.)

Matt Arguello said...

I will not lower my expectations of my students.

DoremiGirl said...

A note from a music teacher:

I will not stand in front of the students and say or act like I'm the expert. I will facilitate conversations as one of the learners and will openly say that I'm happy to learn from them.

I will not kill the joy of music making.

Patrick Larkin, Principal said...

Thanks for the great list of what not to do! I will share it with my teachers. It would be cool for the students to create a list of what their favorite teachers do (without names of course).

I am thinking I should start a list of what not to do as a Principal! Getting off on the right foot in a new school year is so important for everyone!

Michelle said...

I will not shush anyone in the library.

Dwight Carter said...

Excellent list! I am going to share this with my staff and will take the idea of creating a list of what I won't do as a principal, like Patrick Larkin.

Be Great,

Dwight Carter
Gahanna Lincoln High School

Mrs Ripp aka 4thGrdTeach said...

Thank you for all of the great add ons. It is amazing how many things we actively choose not to do when we think about it and just how much those little things and not doing them end up meaning for our classroom. Keep the ideas coming!


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