A few days ago I asked my kiddos what they remembered about their first day. Their answers were very sweet. They didn’t remember any of the activities we did. They remember meeting me, their friends, seeing the classroom, little things like that. When I asked them if they remembered any activities we did, they couldn’t remember.
If you ask me what I remember from the first day, or week, there are so many memories and things I definitely need to do differently next year.
I am an intern. This means I am teaching my own class in place of student teaching. This is my first time being in charge of a group of second graders. We had a brief observation of a first day of school a few weeks before school started. Other than that, I had no clue what to expect.
I remember being so nervous to meet these kiddos. Will they like me? Will I be able to teach them? Will they even learn anything? What if I mess them up for the rest of their school life? These are a few of the questions running through my mind. The kids came in and we got started.
We’ve been in school for over a hundred days now. The year is over half way over. The worries I had were silly. But if I could go back, there is so much I would do differently.
I wish I had trained the kiddos better on expectations and rules. This would have solved many other problems later on in the year. If they knew their expectations and consequences more clearly, it would stop a lot of behavior problems.
I wish we had rehearsed and practiced transitions and behaviors more. I could have saved hours later on in the year reteaching these transitions.
I wish I had been more consistent and strict on the first day. If the kiddos broke a rule, their needed to be a consequence, not just a lot of warnings. I was worried they wouldn’t like me and would hate school if I didn’t give them a lot of warnings on the first day. This is when they are testing their boundaries. If I have learned one thing this whole year, it’s that these kiddos will always love you. You are their teacher, they won’t hate you if you give them a consequence for misbehaving.
I don’t regret giving these kids a lot of love on the first day. We built our classroom community and became a family. These kids learned that I love and care about them. They learned that this class was a safe place. They learned they are welcome to share their ideas and not be in danger of being looked down on for an incorrect answer.
Maybe, those things were more important to learn on Day one than procedures and rules.