To create a community of learners during the first week of school, I think it is important to allow the students to feel welcome and comfortable in their environment. As I went through grade school, I found that the teachers I encountered were very reserved and did not connect with individual students. It wasn’t until I started teaching and was introduced to a local school where I felt that not only did the students want to be there, but so did the teachers.
I grew up in a small town where everyone knew everyone. It is interesting to me how even being in that setting, it was obvious that a large gap existed between teachers and students. As I started to teach students in a high school myself, I realized that connecting with students allowed them to develop into creative thinkers and ultimately gave them the opportunity to open up to my classroom discussions.
My first long-term teaching experience started in the middle of the first quarter. The students’ original teacher had stepped out on maternity leave and accepted an entirely new job position out of state. This opportunity opened up for me to engage with students and create a positive work environment for them. I had my struggles when I first started because the original ground rules were not set from the previous teacher and I had to determine a way that I could prove to these students that I was there to stay and to make sure they would respect each other in our classroom. It took a couple weeks for the students to adjust and open their minds to the material.
Based on my experiences from when I was learning in school until now teaching in school, I want to make sure that students are welcomed and encouraged from the very first day. I want to install group activities and icebreakers for students to get to know each other and me as a teacher. I love to see the creative sides of students and to see the light-blub go off when they understand a topic. In order to achieve this, we must put ourselves into the child’s shoes and find ways that will allow them to interact.
During the first week, I find it important to set the tone for the students and introduce the topic you will be covering throughout the semester. Allow them to understand what you are going to expect from them for the semester and what they should expect from you as well. It is important to make them comfortable with their surroundings and classmates and feel that they can come to you with any questions. It is also important to set the ground rules to all students so that they know how to behave in your classroom and ultimately throughout life. As a teacher, we must show the students how to be organized the first week and that they should expect the same from us. Show the students where they can locate important information and where they are expected to turn in assignments and/or homework. Show your students a classroom full of learning and excitement to get them involved. To some children, this is their escape to learn.
With the first week approaching quickly, I am feeling the pressure of getting ready to have three new classes. I am excited to work with students and mold their minds into creative thinkers while using inquiry in my classroom. I am striving to make their first week as exciting and engaging as possible. I want the students to want to be there while maintaining respect for the school, peers, and teachers. Through my experiences, I believe that I will be able to create a positive first week of school for both myself and my new students by using this first week lesson plan!