Hide and seek… the seeker would always start with, “Ready or not, here I come.” Well, the school year, like a 500 pound gorilla, does not hide. Every August, it opens its doors to all, ready or not. We do not have to go looking for it.
Educators are in meetings, school supply lists are getting filled, new clothes possibly bought for the first day, and whatever else everyone does. The sound of the first bell of the opening day is like the start of the Kentucky Derby… “and they’re off.” By the time those horses make the final turn, teachers are much like them… worn out at the end of the day… legs tired, out of breath, heart beating fast. Last words of the first day for a teacher, “I can’t wait until the weekend gets here.”
Just think… to put this in calendar terms… we have 36 school weeks to go until May, 180 school days… I will not give you the number of hours 🙂
If this is you, let your heart not be troubled. As educators, we are all in this together. No one is on an island… UNLESS you choose to be there by yourself, and that is a much more serious problem on its own.
So, what are some “things” that will help you not always feel you are waiting for the weekend as school happens this year? Three “things” I believe are very important. All three work, directly and indirectly, to make your life better as a person and as a teacher.
Have a classroom leadership plan, not a classroom management plan.
To borrow a paragraph from a previous blog on classroom leadership Teach with classroom leadership not classroom management……
“Classroom leadership is centered around empowerment, not only for you, as a teacher, but for the student as well. Classroom leadership should be based on a vision and principles, not managing students like they are products on a shelf; a vision that shows what the end result can be – where students can grow, and finish better than they started. Classroom leadership should be about influence, and that is what leaders do; influence inspires, management manages. When people are inspired, they do not have to be managed.”
As an educator, I believe this with every educational fiber I have in me. Part of classroom leadership is “doing right by students.” When you do, they will do right by you in return. When you have an inviting atmosphere in your classroom, you do not have to sell your product.
Learn your student’s names.
Yes, and learn to pronounce their names – correctly. Get hooked on phonics if necessary to pronounce them. It will show an investment on your part. Sometimes, all a student has, is their name. We really do not know how they are being acknowledged outside the classroom. We all want respect; correctly learning and pronouncing a student’s name might seem small, but huge rewards can pay off. You might be surprised how quickly respect can be earned doing this. Also, try to acknowledge everyone in the class at least once during the class period. One more idea… meet them at the door.
It is essential that you take care of yourself and your family.
We all know that our home carries over into our jobs. I have really never met anyone who can separate the two entirely, even when they say they can. At one point or another, we all get run down. To bring our best to students in every class, we must be at our best.
I know it is hard, and we all “want” to do better, but try to plan your family life out by the week. Now, there will be surprises and hiccups, but at least you have an idea of what is going on. Yes, we are here to serve others, but we cannot do that unless we take care of ourselves. Above all, get some rest. Teaching tired benefits no one. A good and restful you is good for all. Try to eat right (that’s what I am working on right now..) and try to get some steps in (this too). Sitting behind a teacher’s desk is not good teaching any way.
Yes, the school year is upon us. There are so many things that we cannot control, but these three things we can. Work on perfecting them as the new year begins. Everyone will be better for it.
Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…
Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…
©2021 J Clay Norton
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Ricky Nations said:
I like what this says, classroom leadership vs. classroom management.
The Book Chamber said:
leadership is always better than management
Charlotte Walker said:
Sound advice! Welcome to 2021-2022 — hope it’s an outstanding year for all the right reasons!
The Book Chamber said:
🙂 advice is only sound if it is listened to and put into practice
Tom Williams said:
Thank you for the three points for successful teaching. I would like to add another if you do not mind. Under “Taking Care of Ourselves”, everyone should find a partner at school that you can share your work with. This person can be a teacher in your area, or any other discipline in your school. Cultivate a strong relationship with this person over the year(s) and you will find a source of strength and encouragement that can not be matched by anything else. I wish the best for all teachers in 2021-2022.
The Book Chamber said:
You are so very correct. Coach Marett and I were talking about that same thing the other day. I do wish I had included that thought. It seems that teacher camaraderie is something of the past. Lives are so much the more hectic that everyone just goes their separate ways now. I am very fortunate to have a teacher friend like you have spoken of. Thanks always for your insight.