It’s the question I am sure several of us have asked at least a dozen children in the past week as our kids, nieces, nephews, and friends head back to school. I have heard “scared” “excited” “nervous” and know the kids would be just amazed to hear that often times their teachers are feeling the same.
It’s been awhile now since I have been able to ‘truly’ experience “Back to School” with a room full of new students, but I do vividly remember loving the energy in the air. To be honest, I still walk down the school supplies aisle trying to figure out a reason why I can purchase 30 notebooks, pencil boxes, etc… one of the days I may just ‘adopt’ a DEN STAR’s class for the excuse to purchase all those fun back to school supplies again.
One thing I definitely learned while I was in the classroom is that it takes more than the right books and supplies to prepare students for a great year of learning. It really is about creating a culture, community, and feeling that anything is possible and everyone can succeed with the support from each other. Like many of you, my students became “my kids” as I shared ‘joint custody’ with their parents for the year in fostering the best environment for them to grow physically, emotionally, and mentally.
One thing that I love about my job is being able to visit districts and school sites and learn how others are inspiring their students. Recently, I have enjoyed being inspired by Clark County School District’s Laura Love. Each time I visit, she hands me a sticker or inspirational quote that she has printed on pieces of paper. It has been as simple as Dr. Seuss sticker that said “Good Job” or an inspirational quote that reminded me to keep focused on what’s important. (Strangely, it doesn’t matter how old we are, everyone proudly wore their sticker all day and even compared messages) I asked where she receives these ideas and she shared the site Kind Over Matter. This site also features free positive thoughts posters than allows each passerby to grab a thought on the go. I highly encourage each of you to print one out and post it in the staff lounge. Would love to hear what your colleagues think! (Thanks Laura for always leaving us with smiles)
I recently saw shared on Facebook/Pinterest/Twitter the image of the door you see here. I wish I knew the original teacher who started this, but they simply typed and cut a message that reminds students the reason they (and we) are here each time they walk through the door. (To see other examples google “When You Enter This Classroom”) What message do you try to instill with your students during the first week? Do you have any great messages posted in your class that provide inspiration to you or your students?
When I came around a corner one afternoon and found this “To-Do List” outside an educator’s door, I had to stop and grab a picture. Was a good reminder that in the hustle and bustle of getting our “work” done there may be a few more items we should add to the list. What unexpected item has been added to your list that has made a big impact?
So, I wonder what each of you are doing (or have been doing) to create community and foster inspiration in your class? We’d love to feature your “Back to School” class! Email Jannita_Demian@discovery.com with pictures and your story so we can share your message and inspire others!