Well…it begins tomorrow! Today was a day full of professional development and then my 3rd year of teaching both in my career and at this school begins. I think I’m prepared…I mean, don’t we always think we are and then boom…we remember what we’ve forgotten. Syllabuses are printed, first few days of materials are set out, classroom contracts are ready to go…and the kids are all lining up to see what their schedule holds.
My summer hasn’t been anything to call Hollywood about but it’s definitely been on the up side of the spectrum. My days were filled with reading, traveling, weddings, family time, and a few hectic chaotic moments as well. My classroom had a bit of a makeover this year including an entirely new sink and drainage system! I also received a second white board and purchased my first set of dry erase crayons to use when doing drawing units (shading/value). My niece turned 3 back in March and Matt’s nephew turns 1 in just over a month. His brother also recently got married and that was an exciting time. Either way, from the looks of how my summer went and how this year is starting, it should be an exciting year.
Matt starts his first year teaching at a High School 45 minutes south of where we live. On the flip side, I commute 45 minutes north – to anyone who knows us it would seem we want to get away from each other, haha. I am very excited for him and I’m sure this year will hold many hilarious and precious moments from the both of us.
I mentioned a Classroom Contract – this is how I start my year off right! After going through procedures and expectations in my classroom, I hold my students to it by using a document that not only I sign, but they and their parents also sign. It includes expectations for the students but most notably, it also keeps me accountable by having expectations for me. The students see that it’s an equal playing field and begin to see how much responsibility I have as a teacher to them as students. Students and I sign it in class, take it home, and after a couple days grace period, bring it back. Because they’ve signed it, when problems arise, students know the consequences outlined…I can pull out the contract and point out how they agreed to do what they didn’t do and we can go from there. In 2 years of teaching, and a cumulative of 1000 students, I’ve had only 5-6 problems that involved getting the contract out to review and make a plan. More often than not, I have been able to point to my expectations signs or mention the classroom contract and the behavior is corrected shortly thereafter. I rarely have to result to detentions or in school discipline. This practice has been a lifesaver for me – something I appreciate being introduced to in college. Perhaps it can lend in your favor.