Well, here we are again. A new school year, loaded with learning and opportunity for administrators, teachers, and of course, students! With year 12 being added to my belt, I still had those restless nights… pondering a plethora of questions in my head. Did I do everything I could to be ready for Day 1? Did I give all of my resources to my teachers? Is my building up to code? Are my students going to pull it off like they always do and have a great first day?
Many of my friends are teachers and administrators. They too are having the same thoughts. Over the weekend, several of us discussed our annual jitters and what we do to get through them, because, we all do get through them!
Some of my rituals to ensure that I am doing everything I need to do —
Make an outline. I taught 8th graders how to do this for years, and I always felt that I needed to practice what I preached. I always outline everything that I plan to do on Day 1 – with students and staff. Upon making the list, I immediately start revising. I try to cut as much as I can; the attention span of students and staff is limited. I try to say the really important stuff, then follow-up with that AND the other stuff in an email. That should have links, attachments, or both.
Send what you can out ahead. Teachers are planners by nature; they spend 180 days doing it in their classrooms and most of them have a similar routine outside of work. I always found it courteousness and informative to send out information in advance so those can take it all in. My back-to-school e-packet was over 20 pages this year. Most of it had the same-ol, same-ol mandated stuff, but those other small bits of information are crucial for Staff to have in advance. If anything, it gives a sense of relief. If there are assignments, people like to know what they’re doing ahead of time. Yes, you’re giving more time and opportunity for the complainers to complain more, but let’s face it, they would be complaining anyway.
Keep it simple. No teacher or students wants to face a lecture laced with edu-babble and fear. Keep your conversations simple. It’s appreciated all around.
Use humor. Working in a middle school environment for most of my educational career, you have to laugh, and often. If you don’t, you’ll be miserable.
I used the four above, and once again, I got through my first day. I’m looking forward to many more.