Blog #1: Engaging Students for a New School Year

August 31, 2013

There are several experiences from my years in grade school and college that will influence how I engage with my students in my future classroom during the first week to create a community of learners. I’ve also talked to many teachers who have given me pointers about the beginning of the school years.

One bit of advice that a teacher friend recently mentioned to me was to never smile before winter break. Wow! That sounds a bit harsh. The teacher that told me about this is probably one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met so it really surprised me that she said something like that. I guess I gave her a surprised look because she went into an explanation about the motto. It basically means that for the first bit of school, teachers should be firm and stand their ground with students so that they understand their limitations. It actually makes a lot of sense to me probably because I had a similar experience with a teacher during high school.

My very first high school English class scared me. I walked in on the first day and although I can’t remember exactly what the teacher said, she pretty much told all of us students that she would throw away our papers if they didn’t have 1 inch margins, Times New Roman font, and perfectly constructed MLA format papers. I don’t think she ever threw away a paper all year; it was definitely a scare tactic.

I don’t believe that I will scare my students on the first day. Nonetheless, I do think that setting up a classroom management plan before the first day of class is important. Rules and regulations are important for a classroom and students need to understand these rules. However, I want to set up a warm and welcoming environment for my students. During my grade school years, I remember my teachers making us introduce ourselves but I don’t remember them sharing their life experiences with the class. It wasn’t until I reached college that professors began explaining their history, experiences, goals, and mistakes with the class. I remember my grade school teachers being very guarded about their lives outside of school.

When I become a teacher I would like to introduce myself and explain my journey. Although some students may be bored and seriously not care about my past, I feel as though others will understand that I am a person too instead of someone in an ivory tower.

Categories: EDCI 506.

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