On the first day of school, how will the students be greeted by you? Will you stand by the door, saying hello, welcoming them in, or will you be busy with last minute preparations for the kids who already showed up?
On the first day of school will the kids be told where to sit or will they be given choice right away?
On the first day of school will the rules already be posted? The expectations already made? Or will you have that discussion with the kids so they can be involved in how they want to feel?
On the first day of school will the whole year have been planned out already or will you wait to see who these kids are and what they need? Will their voices be used to shape the curriculum or has that been done for them already?
On the first day of school will you be excited to start another year? Will you be honored to be a teacher? Will you be aware of the immense responsibility and opportunity that comes with what we get to call a job?
On the first day of school will you worry more about all of the information that you have to share and the things you have to get done, rather than how the students feel as they leave your classroom?
On the first day of school will you plant the seeds of the future learning that will take place? Will your students’ voices be heard already or will the day be dominated by yours? Will the work you do be meaningful or something just to get through?
Will you be honored to meet each child? Will you welcome each one, no matter their past, no matter their needs? Will you face your own fears and teach courageously so we can begin to right the wrongs in this world? Will you find your own voice to start courageous conversations?
On the first day of school will you be glad you showed up, perhaps exhausted at the end, yet happy or will you dread the year that has just started, unsure of why you chose to come back? Will the students leave thinking that perhaps this year will be amazing, that perhaps they will be interested, that perhaps they will be challenged, that perhaps you will care about them? Or will they drag their feet and answer “fine…” when their parents ask them how the first day was.
On the first day of school will you know that this year will be worth it? That this will be an opportunity to grow? That yes, there may be hard days, but there will also be so many great ones? Will you tell the kids thank you when they leave and mean it?
On the first day of school, we set the tone for the learning that will happen the rest of the year. For how kids will feel when they enter our learning spaces. For how we will be viewed as a new adult in their life. Let’s do it right this year.
If you like what you read here, consider reading my newest book, Passionate Readers – The Art of Reaching and Engaging Every Child, out August 2017. This book focuses on the five keys we can implement into any reading community to strengthen student reading experiences, even within the 45 minute English block. If you are looking for solutions and ideas for how to re-engage all of your students consider reading my very first book Passionate Learners – How to Engage and Empower Your Students. Also, if you are wondering where I will be in the coming year or would like to have me speak, please see this page.