After a busy and restful summer, it's time to get back into the swing of things. There is a point during each summer that I start to feel eager for the new school year to begin. This year, that feeling came a bit later in the summer, but it came nonetheless. When I came into school last week to start setting up my room, it was easy to understand why teachers get so excited about the beginning of the new school year. Everything is fresh and clean in the school building, we get to arrange our rooms for a new group of kids, we try to add as many features to the physical environment as possible so that the kids will love being here, and we let our minds race with new ideas for teaching and learning during the upcoming year. Indeed, the couple of weeks before school starts is the time when all is possible.
Today at school, there was a little bit of student traffic. Some were coming in to take a tour of the building, some were getting a jump start on decorating their lockers, and some were here to meet their teachers. Their excited faces are why we strive so hard to kick off the year well. These kids are excited about coming to school and we do whatever it takes to maintain that excitement throughout the school year. Such promise is not to be wasted.
I know that I will spend my first day learning the kids' names. That's all I really try to do that first day. I want the kids to understand that finding out about them and building relationships is the most important part of the first week of school. Later we will go over the logistics and procedures of the class but that is secondary to getting to know these kids. Later in the week, we will do some team-building activities and introduce the kids to all of the cool things they will be doing this year. Those are secondary for me because for now, and for always, the kids come first.