Those first two months are vital, ask any teacher and they will tell you just how much they matter, and yet I have to forget about that. I have to trust my sub, who by the way is brilliant, but still…how will they know how fantastic 5th grade will be? How will they know what my expectations are? How will they know the kind of classroom I envision? I swallow my fears and focus on the positive; the babies, the new life awaiting all of us and I realize I have had to let go. I have had to let go of how the curriculum is taught, how their day to day lives will be, how the sub will treat them and build community with them. I have to let go.
Yet, there are three things I cannot let go of, 3 things that I refuse to lose control over, as I reiterate to my sub just how important these are.
- Limited homework.
- No rewards/no punishment.
- No grades.
Is there more, well of course, but these 3 things are deal breakers, pillars of my philosophy, the things that cannot be sacrificed whoever is teaching. And I need the students and parents to know that from day one, not day 40 as I venture into the room. I need the parents to feel comfortable with the why behind these decisions and I need the students to know what is expected of them. I need them to know that they set the rules, that we work together, not that learning will be forced with a carrot and stick method. I need them them to know that work will be at school and they should see very little outside work if they spend their time wisely. I need to get them ready to set goals, think about their learning and take control of it. So those 3 things, those I am not letting go of.