Today is my first day with students. I am optimistic that my morning enthusiasm will maintain through the sometimes never-ending afternoon. I’ll let you know how that goes. The first week of school is scary. There is a lot of pressure to set expectations and start the year off on the right foot. And the first week of school is dang tiring. Last week of classroom setup left me with 8:30 bedtimes and needing a venti starbucks plus an afternoon diet coke the following day. And that was without students. Jeez.
I have a few great guest posts scheduled for you this week so I can (hopefully) maintain my sanity during the first week of school. But I will let you know all the dirty details about my first few days at the end of the week. I will do an in-depth classroom reveal next week complete with photos, room layout, and a video tour. I just need to finish all the final touches 🙂
Since we often feel like we are on an island and alone in this overwhelming challenge, I thought I’d share a few words of encouragement:
Your days are going to be busy. Whether you are a coffee, tea, diet coke, or full night’s sleep kinda teacher – be ready to tackle your first day with gusto.
Don’t make things harder on yourself. The first week is all about learning routines and getting adjusted. Keep the work easy and uncomplicated. Add in the challenging work later.
It’s MUCH harder to dig through a mountain of paperwork trying desperately to get organized than it is to stay organized throughout the year. This is the most important time. There is a ton of start-of-the-year paperwork. Dedicate five or ten minutes at the end of each day to maintain your paperwork. You’ll be happy you did.
I know, I know. The thought of taking data the first week seems as inviting as throwing your iPhone into a flushing toilet. But you have to know where you started to know things are getting better. Plus, how freaken awesome will you feel when you have a super drastically impressive increase in skills to show. Take data the first week. Do it.
Again – being fun may not seem high on your priority list in the midst of simply surviving to Friday, but you need to establish your classroom as a fun and reinforcing place. Make your class somewhere your students want to be. This will also make a removal from this awesomely fun class punishing (hint, hint…).
If your first week is utter chaos, take a deep breath. There is nowhere to go but up. My first year teaching, my first year was so bad I had french fries and beer for dinner each night and convinced myself I had gone into the wrong career. It will get better. It will get better. It will get better. It will. Really.
Nothing is set in stone. Figure out what didn’t work and change it. Yes, change it. Everything can still be adapted and molded to perfectly fit your classroom needs. Look forward and pick one thing at a time to work on. Don’t get overwhelmed. Take it step by step.
Cut yourself some slack. It doesn’t need to start perfectly. It doesn’t need to be perfect. Our jobs are hard and it’s okay. You are doing a good job and it will get better. Do what you need to do to relax and take a break. Have a real housewives couchfest, sweat it out on the treadmill, or treat yourself to some wine and really ridiculously good cheese. Or you can always still my go-to option – dinner of french fries and beer. Sometimes dinner of ice cream, if it’s really bad.
Good luck! Let me know how it goes!