My Fellow Colleagues,
With the start of a new school year quickly approaching, join me this week to take some time and be good to yourself.
Think about splurging on something for yourself, like that long overdue spa treatment or a day the beach. How will you take care of yourself this week?
As you begin to prepare for a new year ahead of us, think about what you can do to get every student, even the most reluctant ones, to participate in class discussions and take an active role in their academic success, especially as you begin to build rapport and establish expectations.
Often times, I usually ask their opinions about things, particularly around the issue of homework and testing. My thoughts on homework seem to change every year, often based on the class dynamic at that time. Some years, homework weighs heavy while others it is a less of an issue with students and families.
Throughout my teaching career I have learned there is not a “one size” fits all approach to homework. If anything, homework assignments should be differentiated and based solely on student need.
Unfortunately this is not always an easy task to accomplish, as certain things need to be considered when assigning homework assignments:
- Be reasonable with the amount of time you are expecting from students and families to complete assignments
- Homework should be assigned to either reinforce or practice previously leaned skills and concepts
- Homework should not be used in a punitive manner
What kinds of things can you do that will allow students to be successful with homework? Is there a homework expectation and/or routine that needs to be explicitly taught and/or shared with families? What will you do to hold students accountable for completing homework assignments?
We should always remember that ALL of our students, no matter what their capabilities, deserve the best. All students are capable of learning. Effective educators never give up on individual students. However, we should think about how we balance our efforts to help children succeed.
This task of wanting all of our students to succeed can become stressful at times. Hence, lies the reality that we are not able to solve every problem. We must not forget that. What does matter is that we are getting our kids to progress in some way, shape, or form. Think about the student who had a 40% average coming in at the start of a new year. At year-end, this same student has a 50% average? Growth?? Absolutely. It’s these small milestones sometimes that we should focus on and celebrate along the way.
Think about some ways you manage stress when it begins to become a burden for your day to teaching. What do you do to take care of yourself? When you feel overworked trying to be the superhero, what can you do? How do you turn that “stress” off? Have you ever thought about laughing with your students?
Think about your classroom expectations. Most, if not all, of us expect our students to be respectful. Think about all that respect entails. It is important to remember that this always begins with us. Our students are always watching.
Think about your “grand plan” each day as you walk into the classroom, aside from your daily lesson plans. What happens when things don’t go as planned (i.e. constant interruptions, an unexpected visit by a parent, a meeting with the principal regarding your evaluation, etc.)? How do you react with your students and/or colleagues in these situations? While you might feel frustrated and/or angry, think about those things your students face every day which they have no control over. The most important thing to remember is to always stay calm and quiet not to forget that your students are watching.