First Days 2009-2010

Today was my first real day!

I did @paulbogush's Million Words for Students and @ddmeyer's Who I Am ( I created one just like it in Microsoft Word for us non-Mac people.)

At the end of Million Words, the kids get to ask me 3 questions about anything that I will answer tomorrow in class. I was surprised at how many kids couldn't think of anything to say. Seriously?

I had the expected questions about what is my phone number, when can we go on a date, do I have a boyfriend, etc but nothing inappropriate.

I wanted to share some of my favorite questions with you!

  • Would you date the principal for a million dollars?
  • Would you host a tv show if you had to wear a sombrero?
  • Who is the governor of Florida?
  • What is the fastest roller coaster in the world?
  • What is your biggest fear and why?
  • If you weren't a teacher, what would you be doing?
  • Can you cut a straight line with scissors?
  • What is the meaning of life?
  • If the USA were struck by a nuclear missile and only you survived, would you be able to live and support yourself? And why?
  • If Barack Obama called you to tutor his child, how much would you charge?
  • Can you tell if someone is crying underwater?
  • Why does a dog get angry when you blow in it's face, but when you're driving it sticks it's head out the window?
  • Do you like eggplant?
  • Do you know how to fly a kite?
  • Do you like cheesecake with strawberries?
  • Were your parents strict on you having a boyfriend?
  • Do you talk about students behind their back?
  • Why did you want to be a teacher if you knew it would be crazy as all get out?
Creative. I like it.

The most common questions were, what is your favorite subject, what made you want to be a teacher, do you give a lot of homework, how old are you, and do you like teaching.

It was pretty interesting. Some kids said they had homework already while other kids said my assignment was the first thing they had actually done all day.

I let students pick where to sit and had them fill in the seating chart with the names they wanted me to call them. Most students went right for the back row but I made them scoot up. I already know all their names so it's really just for a substitute.

I did stand at the door and greet as they come in. I had instructions on what to do on the SMART board but a lot of them either didn't notice, didn't read it, or didn't believe me. I can see this will be an important routine to start.

The day went well, I had no problems. But on the inside I was feeling so retarded and like all my ideas were silly. I kept having urges to throw everything out and start over. But, by the end of the day I just tried to plan for tomorrow and not go crazy thinking ahead.

I can't wait to read all the words my students wrote to me so I'm sure there will be something interesting to post tomorrow!


  1. What a great way to start the school year! I thoroughly enjoyed reading their questions. I often feel like my ideas are silly but sometimes silly is OK anyway.

    I look forward to following your school year.

  2. Silly is as silly does!

    I suppose.

  3. I did something similar to the "ask me any question you want" on the first day years ago. I got about the same reaction you did. It's because they're still trying to figure you out and make all the little observations they love to make (your clothes, hair, personal hygiene, personality quirks, your favorite words and phrases, etc). Plus, they don't know you at all. You might think that means they should be asking questions, but they don't want to know yet. They don't even know if they like you! Give it time. That's a good question to ask in a few weeks, and it is good for your classroom culture.

  4. Oh, and I forgot that one year when I did it, I took a list similar to yours and tried to answer a question every day at the end of class for the first month or so of school.

  5. I've been around for almost a year ow, so they are somewhat familiar with me. I'n going to answer the questions tomorrow but I plan to do this again in a few months. It will definitely be interesting to see what they say then!

  6. Love the questions! What a great and creative way to start the year. I tend to hit the ground running - to set the tone - by I like the silliness. I may try this myself in a couple weeks.

  7. Great idea! I might try this myself, but I'm a little wary of what juniors and seniors would come up with...

    Let us know what you answer and how it goes over!

  8. Courtney......I do something similar with 14 - 19 year olds and I let them ask me on the first day and answer them straight-away (for reasons that are lengthy but important for the type of students i teach).

    So... I have two rules to avoid trickiness: 1. They can't ask me anything about other teachers (I was once asked: "Which teacher would you most like to fist-fight?") and 2. They can't ask me a question that would be inappropriate to ask an aunty, mum or older sister. If they're in doubt think how they would feel if I rang up to check with their mum! (I was once asked: "What colour underwear do you have on?" to which I replied: "Would you like me to check that question with your mum or would you prefer to withdraw?" He withdrew.)

    This usually helps!

  9. Yes Courtney I did have some questions such as, What's your number, What turns you on, If a student was of age would you be attracted, etc. But I found a way to truthfully deflect and still answer every question. It was a good time.

  10. I enjoy reading what a new teacher is thinking and feeling. It has been a very short ten years since I was there.

    I have one thing I think you should reflect on...even if it's "just" on a blog, why would you say you feel "so retarded" on the inside? It's an important thing for an educator (or anyone else for that matter) to be conscious of. Do you say this type of thing in front of students? Their parents? Your principal? Your friends?

  11. Thanks for your concern. By retarded I meant delayed or limited and was not meant to be offensive. It is a word I say a lot without thinking. Thanks for pointing out this error. I use this blog to be transparent and as something to reflect on, which shows that it is serving it's purpose.