The following post is written by Laura Davis. She and I have chatted many times over twitter and in one of our chats, I asked her to write a guest post about how she is starting the new school year. In this post, Laura explains how she and her whole school tried something a little different this year. We can all learn from this post.
I want to thank Laura for taking the time and effort to write this post and hope some of you will leave her your thoughts and check out her blog and twitter feed--they are below the post. Cheers, Garth
We are one full month into school and I can say without a doubt this is the best first month of school I’ve ever had in my 15 years of teaching. No early mornings, or late nights at school trying to be ready. No panic attacks whether my lessons would work or whether my students would pay attention and be cooperative. There has been an unexplainable peace that has surrounded my classroom and me since the first day of school.
Perhaps this is because after 15 years, I’ve finally got it all figured out? No . . . that is most certainly not the case; yet, there is one thing that I know for certain.
Investing time to know and understand my students, rather than to immediately begin pushing content at them, has allowed me to see them as individuals and understand how they learn and what matters to them. This has grown opportunities for me to become a better teacher, mentor and nurturer to my students.
As we are wrapping up our first unit of study and beginning to prepare for our first big assessment this week, I am confident my students and I have already started down a path together that is filled with trust, humor and confidence. I see it in their face as they enter my classroom with a smile; I hear it in their voice when they are willing and ready to participate and share. I see it in the body language and hear it in their conversations with their classmates – they value one another’s opinions and ideas and are anxious to collaborate.
At our first faculty meeting of the year, even before our students arrived, we talked about challenging ourselves to make this #bestyearever and we listened to the words of The Script’s song “Hall of Fame” featuring will i am, as inspiration of what we want for our students, for our school and for us this year. The image that appears above is a snapshot of the poster of our building goals for this school year. The quote seems to sum up beautifully my thoughts J
Giving time to know, understand and hear our students will always reap benefits far beyond what we might even ever see in our classroom. Teaching them to think, care and advocate, will be skills they will take outside our classroom walls. While, school is already in full swing now for all of us, I would urge you that if you haven’t already given this type of tiime to your students in your classroom yet this year, stop what you are doing and really connect with them.
Here’s hoping that you all have the #bestyearever