Friday, August 21, 2015

The worries end and the work begins

When students walk in the door on the first day of school, they come with a history of experience that is oftentimes hard to realize.  Even Kinder kids have lived through experiences that have shaped their ability to find success in your classroom.  Some will walk in your door with a set of experiences that have prepared them to breeze through the year.  Others walk in with a set of experiences that have prepared them for the opposite.  Regardless of their experience, you get who you get.

How do you respond?

It is common to hear teachers talk about classrooms that are not well-balanced.  Some classrooms end up with more challenging students than other classes.  One teacher may have with more kids who aced the state test last year.  Another teacher got all the dyslexic kids.  The male teacher got all the boys coming from homes with no dads.  Another teacher has many students that are a bit bouncy.  As much as schools try to balance classes, it is almost impossible to get it perfect.

And the truth is that some teachers handle some kids a little better than others.  Some teachers are gifted with bouncy kids.  Some teachers find more success connecting with kids from broken homes.  Some teachers excel at bringing the best out of the most heterogeneous classroom full of the widest variety of kids.

Around this time of year, class lists are created.  Parents and families nervously/excitedly await the opportunity to find out who their teacher will be.  Indeed, teachers don't only get students.  They get families.

Teachers are nervous too!  They wonder how the names on that list will actually harmonize on a daily basis.  They wonder if they will be able to create and maintain a fantastic learning environment with a newly formed group that hasn't been together yet.  They wonder what new challenges lay ahead and if their previous experiences have made them ready!

Then the first day of school happens and kids head into their new classes with smiles.  Or nervous smiles.  Or maybe even tears.  And teachers smile as they try to welcome every single child into that new place.  And parents wonder all day long how it is going.

Sure, there may be a few hiccups in a few of those new classes, with a few of those new relationships.  But for the most part, the first few days create a bond between teacher and student.  The learning environment works!  The teacher finds success.  The student finds success.  These two are not always easy, but they happen all the time and they outweigh the failures.  After all the nervous wondering about what the new class brings, after a few days, the worries end and the work begins!