Loved like Churchill?

Tomorrow morning will be the start of a new school and a new set of classes and responsibilities.┬áIn addition, I will be embracing a new educational approach – perhaps that conversation is for another time. We have all heard the old adage ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’.

I know how tempting it can be to want to be ‘liked’ as an educator but realistically the key word should be ‘respected’. Not respected because of the severity of our behavioural management but respected because of the focus we bring to our classes, the commitment to developing the child and the outcomes we achieve with students.

Week One is a most significant opportunity to establish the tone of the classroom. Any revisions or updates we attempt to ‘add on’ later will take much longer to establish as long-term ‘truth’ in our classrooms. It is also fair to say that any ‘promises’ or ‘declarations’ you make on day one (when we are most motivated and excited about the year) will be remembered for a LONG-TIME – especially if you do not deliver… I have failed in this respect MANY times!

It is worth taking a moment to ask what you want from your students in 2011 but also to ask what changes our own delivery might require in evolving our own professional practice. What do “I” need to learn? What should “I” change? What are “my” weaknesses (you know the ones we know exist but didn’t get noticed in the appraisal)?

A teacher I was partnered with during my university training said, “You need to be Hitler in term one, Mussolini in term two then you can be loved like Churchill for the rest of the year.” Well, OK, it’s a strongly loaded analogy. Another trainer stated it this way, “Firm, Fair and Friendly and in that order!”. I can certainly see the need for establishing routines that allow education to happen, masterful classroom management, engaging lessons – but I’m no Hitler.

Let us know what you have planned for day one. Here are a few fun activities / ideas for your classes. Most are labelled ‘K-6’ but I will be using a few with my 7-12 classes tomorrow.