Thursday, August 25, 2011

I Hope My Teachers Blow It Too!

Josh Stumpenhorst blogs at stumpteacher.blogspot.com
Josh Stumpenhorst, a friend from Chicago, wrote a great blog post about his first day with students this year.   It is a great reminder that our first priority needs to be to our students and not to the subjects we teach. 
Today I blew it. It was the first day of school and I didn’t get to anything important today. They say first impressions mean everything and I am not so sure I made correct impression on my students.
Rather than talking about grading procedures and classroom rules, we talked about dogs and little sisters. Instead of hitting the ground running with standardized test preparations, we met new friends and learned something new about each other. When we probably should have been discussing the learning standards, we were wasting time discussing which books we read over the summer. During passing periods when I should have been yelling at kids to get to class on time, I made the decision to help them with their locker combos and piles of supplies. In class when I should have been going through the grading scale and telling them how to get an A, I was actually telling them that grades don’t mean that much to me and I just want them to learn. Kids walking into my room were not greeted with walls full of catch phrases and spelling rules, but faced blank walls that I asked them to decorate and own. In my off period I did not go down and memorize every test score and data point in my students’ file, but decided to let them be their own data point and show me every day who they are. I made the decision to not start building students today but rather begin building relationships.
No, I did not get to anything important today. Hopefully tomorrow will be more productive.
There is nothing more important on day one than showing students that they are the primary focus of our schools...not procedures, not test scores, not penalties.  

Thanks Josh, your students are lucky to have you!

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