Thursday, August 30, 2012

My 34th Year As a Teacher

And so the school year has begun . . . with appropriate background music.

As always, the preparations for a new school year took place on several levels:
  • getting the room ready, the physical structure
  • hand-outs and organizers--seating charts and course overviews
  • lesson plans and class presentations, such as what to do the first day and media materials
  • teaching strategies: differentiation, special needs, and opportunities for students to work yet not sit in their seats all period
  • bringing an attitude of open and caring enthusiasm to the classroom; bringing something new 
For me I always feel better once I'm physically with the students and interacting with them. I can think of all kinds of things to worry about or fuss over prior to the first day of school, but being in the presence of young people is my touchstone of teaching. It's where I find meaning.

Last night was Parents' Night, where the parents show up and are given an overview of the school quarter's activities. I always like Parents' Night. It's like the first day of school, the desks filled with bright, expectant faces--only in this case, parent faces!

Having good communication with parents is such a powerful teaching tool. As a grade 7-12 teacher, I am in contact with students only a short time each day. To be able to contact a parent, or for the parent to be able to contact me, is a great opportunity to increase the effectiveness of education. If everyone knows what's going on, there is less chance for misunderstanding or for those bright students to find some wiggle room in the course requirements.

Thank God for email! It makes contacting parents so much easier and so much quicker. Also, online grading is a great communication tool for schools. Parents can access their child's grades whenever they want to and can check to see when assignments are due and whether or not schoolwork has been turned in.

We have now completed the first week at Maharishi School. The introductions are over, and now we can all roll up our sleeves and get to work. I'm glad for that. I like reading, I like writing, and I like my students.

Copyright 2012 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved

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