Students return to school tomorrow. It’s my 27th year of school (21 as a student, 6 as a teacher). Before I head to bed, a couple of adages/goals that I’m hoping to embody for the year.
Know and care for the kids.
I love kids, but I’ve found in past years that I’ve fallen into a pattern of connecting with those kids who were easiest for me to connect to. That is, I didn’t make it a priority to try to connect with all kids and learn about their lives/interests outside the classroom. Reading The Energy to Teach this summer reminded me of the importance of working to connect with each student and thinking systematically about doing that.
Don’t make it harder than it has to be.
Teaching is an incredibly complex endeavor. That’s one of the reasons I love it- there’s always something to think about and ways to improve. But sometimes harder or more complicated is just that and not better or at least not better enough that it warrants the effort required. A post to the class blog doesn’t have to be an essay; it can be a picture and two lines of explanation.
Be on your feet.
At the suggestion of someone on Twitter (apologies that I’ve forgotten who), I turned my desk to face the wall this year. I’m not going to be able to be in my classroom other than the periods I’m teaching (more on that later), so I don’t anticipate having much time at it without students there anyway. It’s easier to have a built-in physical reminder of the importance of consistently being up and interacting with students, rather than depending on my brain to remind me of that, especially on days that I’m tired.