Welcome to the 2016-2017 School Year!
Happy Back to School Season! I’m Christina, The Daring English Teacher, and this is my seventh year teaching high school English. Teaching high school English wasn’t always my dream career. Even though I spent countless hours as a child playing school with my kid brother –walking him up and down our hallway with his arms crossed, hand-drawing worksheets for him to complete, attempting to teach a seven-year-old how to create an outline about tigers and write a five paragraph essay, and writing questions to go along with a movie, being a teacher was never on my radar until after college and my first career. After graduating with a BA in journalism and political science, I began working in public relations. I loved the traveling, writing, and collaboration that came with that job, but I loathed many aspects of it as well. After some soul searching, I went back to school, earned my teaching credential in English and my Master of Education, and started my first year as a teacher shortly thereafter.
First Month Classroom Management
I’ve had the privilege of working in a low-socioeconomic school for six years. So many of my former students have experienced situations and hardships in which no child should ever be subjected to. I think about many of my former students on a daily basis and just hope that they are okay –that they are fed, sheltered, and alive. Working with these students was challenging, but it was also a tremendous privilege because they taught me so much. One thing they taught me is that the first day of school is so critical when it comes to establishing your classroom culture. If you are too strict and cold, students won’t warm up to you. If you are too easy-going and relaxed, they won’t take your seriously. That is why I stress sincerity and mutual respect from day one.
High school students, well, teenagers in general, are fickle beings. They want the responsibility, maturity, and respect that come with being viewed as and treated as an adult, but deep down they are still holding onto their childhood. I make it a point to show my students that I respect each and every single one of them for who they are, where they’ve come from, and where they want to go. My best piece of classroom management advice is to respect each and every single one of your students, and they will see it. They will buy into you. They will buy into your class. They will buy into their potential in your class.
Back to School Class Quilt
One of the ways that I get to know each and every single one of my students the first week of school is by creating a classroom quilt with my students. Each student is given a square with four different quadrants. I instruct my students to make their square a true representation of who they are. Each quadrant represents a different category that will help me get to know these students. Once my students are done, I laminate the squares and assemble my quilt on the wall. I keep it up all year to show my students that we are all members of this community in the classroom. If you are looking for a great Back to School Activity, check out my Back to School Classroom Quilt!
This activity is included in my Back to School Activities for Secondary Students resource.