30 August 2007

Tips from "Old-Timers"

The Salt Lake Tribune ran a very cute story about the advice first graders had for incoming kindergartners who might be scared about their first day of school. Here are some of my favourite comments:

  • "Outline the picture first, then color it inside."
  • "Put antibacterial on your hands so you don't get germs on your snack."
  • "The best thing is that you get to play. The hardest part is that you have to do your work."
  • "Here's how to make friends: Say, 'Do you want to be my friend?' "
  • "Don't be nervous because in school we have fun. Your parents will come back and pick you up after school."
This got me to thinking about the first day of school for new teachers. I have previously listed some pieces of advice and will stick with that (especially the comfy undies and overdose of deodorant). I know that many of you edubloggers out there also have posted your ideas.

The older I get (I'm 37 and about to embark on my 17th year in the classroom), the more I realize that the kids are not the scariest part of things when starting up the year. I know that all of our fussing as teachers in terms of "getting ready" is about plans and bulletin boards and so on. We want things to be just perfect for the kids walking through our doors in a few days because we care about them. The frightening parts are all of the things the kids don't always see---the administrative tasks on our plates, the grading and accountability, and the angry parents or unhappy home lives we may have to work around. It is staring the school year in the face and feeling confident enough to manage all of that so that kids have what they need: a caring teacher in the classroom.

The graphic above was part of this week's Post Secret. The anonymous sender is right---kids can definitely forget that we are people, too. If I might offer some advice, I would like to suggest that teachers not forget this fact no matter how many students do. You are important people. You are more than "just teachers." Remember this year to nurture yourself. Put down that red marking pen and go for a drive, a walk with a friend, or whatever feeds your soul. Write a blog post, make your mark, and strut your stuff. Remind others that you are whole. And if I start to forget---be sure to drop me a line and remind me, too.


Mimi said...

I love it!! I will do my best to take your advice this year.

The Science Goddess said...

I hope to do well at taking my own advice. LOL

Jen said...

I'm just beginning my 2nd year...great advice!! Thank you.

East Coast Teacher said...

I love this - I can totally picture my little ones from last year giving this advice to their new first grade classmates.

As the second graders in the room, they're the big kids, the vets. Oh, just thinking about it makes me smile.

Great post. And I agree with the advice for teachers, too. I decided after a particularly hellish first day that I was going to make this the year of me - getting loads of sleep, exercising, and watching out for my general well being, things I didn't do much of in the midst of grad school last year.

The Science Goddess said...

I still have another year of grad school to grind through, in addition to work, and the regular throes of daily life. But I am like your idea of the "Year of Me." I think I'm going to give it the old college try. :)

Hugh O'Donnell said...

Great post! When I was teaching, all I wanted to do was figure out how to help kids be successful in school.

Now that I've had time to think, away from the classroom (I'm retired, for those who just tuned in), I realize that I still have that goal, but I want to help teachers be more successful just as much, maybe even more, because of the trickle-down effect.