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Hello August…the month of warm 🌞 and baby 🦋🦋

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Hello Brave Souls!

Ah, here we are once again! August has arrived, and in a mere 14 days, the commencement of MY new academic year! I find myself brimming with excitement and a touch of overwhelm, secretly yearning for one more week of camping amidst the woods. 🌳🌲 AKA my happy place.

Lake Packwood, Washington

But now, as the school year lingers in like the fog on the coast where I live, you’re probably feeling a mix of excitement and terror, right? Yeah, me too! Even after 20+ years in education! Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Every teacher has been there, and we’ve lived to tell the tale. 

Let’s get us both started for a smooth first week of school! So, sit back, grab a cup of ☕️(you’re going to need it) and let’s dive into some 5 strategies that I use in the first week of school!

  1. 💪🏼Fake Confidence: Even on the first day of school it’s important to be confident. Students are watching you, analyzing you, and trying to figure out what your class will be like. I’ve had years where I start to feel nervous and anxious. Sweaty pits and a fast heartbeat. Then I read a strategy that simply changing the word “nervous” to “excited” is the key to reshaping your narrative. And…it works! Instead of letting my brain tell me “Wow, I’m starting to feel nervous” I hit first with “Wow, I’m so excited.” This simple shift in words is powerful and magical. I’ll be doing this again this year myself.
  2. 📚Stay Organized: Be ready! Like really ready! Have something for students at the door as they come in. This gives them something to work on (I like to make it extra engaging) so that I don’t feel all eyes on me immediately. Here’s an example of what I pass out when students walk into my psychology class. 
  3. 📍Establish Rules: Kids are like little lawyers. They’ll find every loophole if you let them. So, set clear, firm rules from day one. I like to roll out my cell phone policy right away! Set boundaries and stick to them! (More on that next month!)
  4. 🤝Focus on Relationship Building: Building a relationship with students in the first week sets a positive tone, fosters trust, and encourages open communication. It facilitates a comfortable learning environment where students feel valued and motivated to participate, ultimately enhancing their academic performance and overall school experience. I do this in several ways….I stand at the door and try and greet as many students as possible, give students Google Forms with get to know you questions, and I always ask students at the end of the first week: What is one thing you wish your teachers knew about you? With this foundation, I add the building blocks from there.
  5. 💜Cultivate Teamwork: Ah, the pièce de résistance! Teaching extends beyond the mere imparting of knowledge to our students. It encompasses nurturing a sense of community and teamwork within the classroom. And what better way to achieve this than through engaging team-building exercises? I prioritize this greatly for the first eight days! Of course, my ultimate goal is to delve into a curriculum based on standards, but initially, I must establish a safe and conducive learning environment, brimming with engagement and collaboration! Check out three ideas on how you can do this in your own classroom: Team Building Activity: Step to the Line If… or Ice Breakers/Dice Breakers: Getting students talking! or for a super fun group activity try this: Team Building Activity: Who Survives Survivor Island??? My students also love celebrities! Yep, like Taylor Swift, Kanye West, LeBron James, etc! So I created an engaging activity called Celebrity Dinner Party. Check it out, my students loved it last year and you can edit it to the celebrities that your own students are obsessed with!

As you embark upon your inaugural school year, bear this in mind: Yes, challenges shall arise. Yes, there shall be days when you question your sanity for choosing this noble profession. Yet, you shall also experience moments of sheer delight and fulfillment. ✨✨

Remember, you are not merely teaching subjects; you are molding futures. No pressure… right? 😂 Cheers to however many days you have until you’re 2023-24 adventure!

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