(I've just decided on doing a running commentary of my first week in order for me to remember this for next year, to reflect, and in case anyone out there needs some ideas to steal. Hey wait, that's what this whole blog is for. Nevermind.)
Day Two went well.
I passed out books and had kids type in their name and book number into an Excel spreadsheet so they could learn to use the SMART board. Bad news is, I accidently deleted it. Oh well, I should have had a paper back up anyway. That's one lesson I hope I don't have to learn again.
I also introduced the discipline plan and had students sign it. Their first homework assignment is to bring it back tomorrow signed by parent/guardian. I didn't have too much complaining about any of the rules although some asked me if they had to sign if they knew they were going to break the rules. Yes. Also explained the responsibility sheet and students seemed skeptical but not opposed to the idea.
Then I presented my school supplies list and explained what each particular item was used for. (My sister is the one in the pictures.)
I then went through and answered every single question that the kids asked me on their index cards from yesterday. A lot of laughs and just a good time from answering. I could tell many kids were surprised that I did answer each one but the point of this activity was to build their confidence in the fact that I can and will answer any questions they had. I plan on showing all my classes the list of the most interesting questions so they can see what other people thought of as well.
I also explained to the students how the classes would work, how I teach, how much homework they'll be assigned, what classwork will be, how I do tests, how they can make up tests so that their grades will improve, etc. I had a lot of positive feedback and a lot of students said this might be the year they actually like/do well in/pass math. And I haven't even started teaching yet. I think this is all going a long way in creating a positive classroom culture and building relationship with them.
I'm still loving it but I'm challenged with how to transition into curriculum as well as how to better engage my lower ability students. It's definitely going to be harder than I thought but I want to do things right and well and I value excellence. Hard work is worth the satisfaction of a job well done and a student well learned.
I'm optimistic so far while at the same time weighted with the amount of work and the important decisions I will need to make.
But we're talking about people's lives here. It's important enough to do right the first time.
What's highly valued isn't easily won.