Carnival of Education: First Day of School Edition
Isn't it so nice how you're all filled up with warmth for the little devils on the first day of school? there is still so much hope and expectation and fear and everyone is so polite and quiet and scared and it's just a beautiful thing.
That first moment in the classroom. What’s going through a teacher’s head? The Phantom Professor calls it like she sees it! This is a must-read.
What’s going through the kids’ heads? Well, according to Ginny, if they’re fourth grade boys, probably something to do with machine guns:
The first problem with having so many boys is that nine year old boys like to turn anything into a gun and make that rapid fire machine gun noise with their mouths. Pass out the composition notebooks. R-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r! They aim the corners at one another and fire at will. And no teacher with an ounce of kindness wants to be the mean teacher on the first day. We don't start our management system until tomorrow to be nice. Just wait until tomorrow. [grips fists and cackles an evil laugh]
Jenny D. wrote in as a parent. She visited her eighth grader’s school and discovered that Math is a gateway drug – er, class. Once you start taking the serious stuff, it leads to more and more…
And speaking of Math, Darren started his year by taking a risk: he asked his high school students to rethink the myth of Sisyphus and how it might apply to them as math students.
Polski3 shared a great list of tips for staying organized and on top of schoolwork, a list that he got from a professor in college but goes over with his high school students every year. I’m currently working with my sixth graders on this one:
Put all papers in their proper place in your binder. There should be no loose papers in your binder or backpack.
Just imagine if all our kids took these tips to heart!
Mr. Lawrence empathizes with
Here in NYC, Ms. Oh spent a weekend recovering from a demanding first two days. I, too, have been spending my weekend planning, grading, and wondering how I managed to forget that teaching is SO. MUCH. WORK.
Nani’s first day was a little anti-climactic – no students! Her school, like Mr. Babylon’s, is suffering overcrowding due to the creation of new small schools, which take up more classroom space for offices and such. As someone who works in one of the new small schools, I sincerely wish it weren’t a zero-sum game.
Mr. B. describes conditions at his school, which has been relegated to a basement:
Down there, amongst the peeling, tagged-up paint of the tiny classrooms with eight-foot ceilings and exposed piping and ductwork, the true nature of Shitty’s renovations is revealed; lipstick on a dieing pig. The stench of the pig’s rotting corpse is palpable on the breezes that waft through this forgotten corner of the basement’s too-small windows. Wait, no, that’s just the dumpster, right there outside the classrooms, surrounded by piles of broken desks, blocking out the sunlight, and reeking of fish.
NYC Educator finds some irony in the fact that his school is completely wired for the internet.
Ms. M, I'm sending lots of encouraging thoughts your way, 'cause you've had a really rough start to your year. Hang in there, it will get harder, but it will also get easier. I promise.
Julie woke up from her anxiety dreams to remind us what a huge part of teaching is acting like you’re confident and in charge, whatever the pit of your stomach might be telling you to the contrary. It’s like I told the new teachers at my school, twisting Gandhi slightly: “Be the change you wish to see in yourself…” She describes some creative activities she did to set a tone of excellence. Remember hearing this from your own teachers, back in the day?
At the end of each class, I had to warn them: "I don't care what your schedule says, you will never hear a bell in this room. You will hear your teacher, Ms C, dismissing you." Coupled with my stern face and sharp voice, I think I made my point.
Mrs. Ris, on the other hand, slept well. Her year got off to a truly beautiful start.
I rolled over, on this, the night before school starts, and remembered Darlene’s amazing smile, Jacob’s contagious giggle, and Fred’s heartfelt hugs.
No matter what is going on in one’s home life, a teacher must come to school prepared, patient, and with lots of energy. Coach Brown started his year in the midst of a difficult time – a death in his extended family. I want to extend my condolences and hope that life gets easier… On a less serious note, I always thought of myself as most like Miranda...
Are we doing anything today? explores the challenge of a well-crafted parent letter:
But how to tactfully say, "could you dig into your bank account and buy a few boxes of colored pencils? or an electric pencil sharpener?"
Grand Moff Trojan found his students’ parents extremely responsive to the syllabus he handed out. I hope the rest of his year goes as well as the start!
But what is the schools’ responsibility to students whose parents are NOT so responsive? Ron thinks many parents need A Wake Up Call!
In New York City, it is common for less than five percent of parents to actually appear at Parent-Teacher Conference Day. It is typical for parents to ignore repeated urgent pleas from teachers and guidance counselors to appear at school to collaborate on solutions to their child’s academic and social adjustment problems. And it is not by a wild stretch unheard-of for parents to become abusive and physically menacing to school authorities.
Mr. AB has been doing something I've only heard about, never experienced: he's visiting students' homes. Wow.
Dan is pleased with the motivation of his AP students.
Ms. Cornelius’s kids even laugh at her geeky jokes! Now that portends a good year!
La Maestra loves her class so much she’s getting them cute fuzzy smelly dwarfy things.
Epiphany in Baltimore got some interesting questions from her students.
The Science Goddess, who did such a good job hosting last week’s Carnival, has been settling into her new job at Central Office, where footwear matters and your family photos better be framed!
Mamacita tells the best interview story I’ve ever heard! What a way to start a new job.
Graycie emailed me a story from her very first day of teaching, many years ago. Space doesn’t permit me to post the whole thing, and she didn’t send me the URL of her blog, but here’s my favorite part:
The assigned first unit of the year for me was short stories. The first part of this unit covered the characteristics of fairy tales. The first story I was to teach with was “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.” The first sentence in that story read, “Once upon a time, Ali Baba was out in the forest with his ass gathering fagots.”
Oh, my. What’s a baby teacher to do? I taught a fast lesson on how language changes using slang from my grandparents’ my parents’ and my own youth. The kids were especially amused by the late ‘50s phrase, “It’s a gas!” to denote coolth. We talked about how mature people laughed at such phrases, but never for more than 30 seconds.
Then we read the story. They laughed and laughed at that first line – for exactly 30 seconds. And then we went on.
Apparently, she was a natural! Graycie, if you’ve got a blog, please send me the URL or post it in the comments.
What do World War II, a dead father, lefties, and teaching have to do with each other? They’re all part of Scott Elliott’s three-part post about his favorite teacher and a memorable first day of school.
EdWonk will be teaching 200 students this year. Too bad his superintendent doesn’t think that class size makes a difference in test scores… I feel confident that the edusphere’s favorite ‘Wonk will persist through difficult working conditions to offer the best to his students. Meanwhile, he’ll return to hosting the weekly Carnival, so send your best writing his way! And a huge thank you for all the help he extended to make this week’s Carnival happen!
An Invitation: Writers of education-related posts are encouraged to contribute to the 33rd edition of The Carnival Of Education. Please send your submissions to owlshome [at] earthlink [dot] net no later than 9:00 PM (Pacific) 11:59 PM (Eastern) Tuesday, September 20th. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the midway should open at The Education Wonks next Wednesday morning.
This midway is registered at TTLB's carnival round-up