- Staying Within Law: Special Education Teachers and IDEA - September 1, 2020
- Teaching With Minecraft EDU - April 3, 2019
- Self-Care Is Priority One for This Teacher - February 13, 2019
- Preparing Students For Teacher Absences - February 12, 2019
- Respect in the Classroom: Earned, Not Expected - February 11, 2019
- Dissing the Family Crazies: A Christmas Story - January 6, 2019
- Band-Aiding The Mental Health of Our Children - November 23, 2018
- We Must Love Them - November 5, 2018
- Take One For the Team: The Need for Self-Care - August 19, 2018
- The New Teacher Smell - August 19, 2018
I am sitting at my desk in my classroom preparing to begin our second semester in this New Year and I’m overwhelmed (as usual) with what needs to be done.Overwhelmed.My focus is not only preparation for the upcoming semester, but also on two new students who start Monday. Which means I have no idea where these kiddos stand academically, emotionally, developmentally. This stresses me out more than I can express.So in order to help myself breathe, and possibly help any new teachers out there who have thought about fleeing their contract mid-stream , I have put together my list of 'To Dos' to prepare for new students:
1. Being in a multiple grade classroom is always challenging, but really all teachers have multiple grade classrooms. No two students are exactly alike, so we all deal with differentiation. When I have new students come in, I don’t even look through transferred records until quite a bit later. I like to make my own assessments, draw my own conclusions and be objective. So having said that, these two folders for my two new students are neatly filed until a later date.
2. I have pulled my ‘non standardized’ grade level appropriate assessments that I developed based on the whole child. These assessments not only focus on academic readiness, but also socialization and communication. In my opinion classrooms aren't about only academics, but how to function appropriately as productive citizens. If there is a piece missing to the puzzle, I want to be aware of that flag.
3. I start getting my classroom ready for August arrival of students beginning in mid-June. Needless to say, I spend quite a bit of time organizing and coordinating all the cutesy, personal ‘stuff’ in my classroom, which helps breed a sense of community. It’s difficult enough for kiddos to begin a new school in the middle of the year. I make sure that when new students arrive on their first day in my classroom, all of their personal items match the students who have been here since the get go. No need making a child feel even more like an outsider than they already are.
4. When students come back from a break, I know that first day is always buzzing with excitement. I have implemented a special activity each day of the week to start off our morning meeting time, which we've been doing since August. I use these activities to help with leadership and team-building. Knowing that I have new students joining us, I have tweaked my activities to help current students begin building relationships with these students.
5. Finally, the only person more nervous than kids starting a new school in the middle of the year are the parents. Throughout this break I have sent several messages to the parents asking if I can do anything for them or if anyone, including the student, had any questions that I can answer. Hopefully this eases the stress that the parents feel, which helps ease the stress that children feel from their surroundings. The easier the transition for everyone, the easier it is to begin building relationships and focusing on continuing to help the child grow in all aspects.