Before I begin, let me just say that when people make absurd comments, it doesn’t bother me much. It’s a gut-check and it keeps me humble, but I reserve the comment to come back with the flame and the fire. Free speech allows for someone to make an absurd comment to me, but it also allows me to slap ‘em right back.
Anyways, I almost literally did my first day in my sleep. I was every bit as enthusiastic as Ron Clark mentions in the Excellent 11, which I’m reading now and will review once I finish it. Last night, after writing my blog about the Fellows program, I decided it was time to recalibrate my sleeping clock and try to get some shut-eye at 10pm. Indeed I was in bed by then, but I really went to sleep at 2am, and for the 4 hours or so of mindless tossing and turning, I went through a process of oscillating positive and negative thoughts.
Even right now, I don’t necessarily know how apt I am for teaching 6th graders. They’re munchkins and still 1/2-people. Yet it’s a lot of pressure since the 6th grade is their last hurrah of childhood. Today, though, I doubt anyone could tell the difference. I dressed professionally: white-collared shirt, blue tie, black pants, and brown shoes. Needless to say, I was probably the sharpest looking in the building, and most teachers preferred the open collared look.
More importantly though, my demeanor was exactly what I wanted to project. I had a sense of humor, but there was no time for games. Everything I spoke about was very necessary to hear, and thus, I needed everyone’s undivided attention … and for the first time in my teaching career, I got a good 95% of it.
My first day script included some of the following:
- I started off the party with a short introduction of myself. Very short. And that’s all I needed.
- I proceeded to discuss my 3 principles: 1) Be the change you want to see in the world, 2) Freedom is not free. 3) Walk on water.
I thought of the first two for a while, but the third came to me on the A-train this morning, and it was so true to me. Even with the diverse inspirations that I got the principles from (Gandhi for the first and Jay-Z for the third), the kids definitely understood it and took to it. I’m having them memorize and learn the principles for tomorrow. That might be against Bloom’s Taxonomy, but f*** it. Charge it to the game.
- Asked them “What does math mean to you?” I found it interesting because I actually had the kids read aloud their answers, and then ask others about what the person just said. It was thoroughly successful and a change from my first two years of teaching, when I didn’t necessarily have a great beginning activity for them to start out with. I asked other members of the class to elaborate on what the reader of the moment was saying.
- Plus, even on the first day, my classroom is looking much better than it did last year at this time. I still have a ways to go, but that’s got a lot to do with the unavailability for printers and such.
Of course there were a couple of snags here and there, but for the most part, it was much more successful and organized. Tomorrow, I call parents. Tonight, though, I sleep.
Good night. I’ll be around the blogosphere to see what’s up with you all soon …