Summer break is over and Classy in Class is back from a much-needed hiatus. While other local schools still have a week or more of vacation, my school has an exhausting six days of professional development prior to the students returning. We even had the open house to meet our students last week.
When meeting my new students and getting to know them, I often feel a mixture of excitement and fear. Every teacher can attest to this. Most of the times the names on my class list mean nothing. Sure, I’ll recognize a kid or two, but for the most part I am so concentrated on my own class that I don’t know many of the students in the next grade down.
And therein lies the dilemma. To me these students are blank slates. I know next to nothing about each of them. And that, honestly, is a great thing.
I don’t know which students they argued with, who was suspended for a fight, whose mom yelled at a teacher, or who needs special attention for whatever reason. And I prefer it that way.
One of my biggest pet peeves as a teacher is having another teacher make me bias about students I have yet to know. Each teacher is different and each child is different with different adults. Knowing that little Bobby hates science or had 18 referrals for back talking doesn’t help me personally get to know this year’s Bobby. Everyone deserves a clean start, and by sharing every negative thing a child has done in the past, we are setting the student up for immediate failure.
Last year’s teachers aren’t the only ones to do this. It’s mainly the child’s own parents who share the worst information. At a previous school we had an open house night where prospective parents could come, tour the building, and meet the staff. Nearly all of the parents shared something negative about their child. One mother and her gaggle of people sat a coworker of mine down and proceeded to inform her that this little boy hated reading and refused to work. He would throw chairs and yada yada yada. Great, stick him in my class! the teacher thought. She now already knew how awful this child could behave and was just waiting for him to do so. But, just because the child had behaved in such a manner didn’t mean that the child would with a new teacher and a new school. So whether you’re a teacher or a parent, just remember that kids will change and will act differently for different people. Allow them to be better without attaching a stigma of their past.
First day back outfit:
Dress: Zulily Little Miss brand, $20 (still in stock if you use the search feature and type in the brand name)
Bracelets: citrine gold wire handmade by me and available for $20; teal stretch bracelet via JCrew Factory