As we begin to welcome students back to school, it’s a stressful time for students, teachers, and principals. Parents? There is some stress, mixed with relief (see this video!). I should draw your attention to the most popular episode of the Catholic School Matters podcast I published last year: Advice from New Principals. It’s full of great “from the field” advice for principals. A couple of things to remember before perusing the list below for worthwhile resources:
- Your students don’t care what you know until they know you care. This directly flies in the face of “Don’t Smile Till Christmas.” Don’t simply aspire to be liked, sometimes the love you show is holding them accountable and enforcing consequences.
- Your students need routines. Some of them live in very chaotic environments. The sooner you establish routines and procedures, the sooner your students will relax.
- If you’re a new teacher, find mentors. Maybe one mentor for writing lesson plans, another for class management, another for dealing with parents. Don’t look for just one!
- We need to model growth mindset. If you’re simply rolling out the same lesson plans and activities, you are sending the message that you don’t care to try. Try something new. Even if it fails, you’re trying and students notice. Fail fast. Fail forward. Keep trying.
- When something happens you don’t understand (e.g. schedule change, a student gets added to your class, etc) try to understand why first. If you still don’t understand, work collaboratively to change it. And keep it professional. Students notice if you complain and will copy your behavior.
Below are the resources I came across the past year. I didn’t include the links from last year’s edition of the Back to School Issue (August 2016).
Resources for the first day:
- 5 Mistakes Teachers Make the First Week of School by Vicki Davis
- Learning Students’ Names and Improving Classroom Management by lauraleemoss
- 3 Inspiring Quotes and a Video to Start the School Year! By Ross Cooper
Resources for New Teachers:
- Find Your Marigold: The One Essential Rule for New Teachers by Jennifer Gonzalez
- A New Teacher’s Big List of All the Little Things by Middleweb
- Tips for a New Teacher by Danny Steele
General Resources for a new school year
- 7 Questions to ask yourself as you prepare for a new school year by Educational Discourse
- 5 Questions to Ask Your Students To Start the School Year by George Couros
- How Was Your Summer? By spoonvision
- Back 2 School: No Drinking from the Fire Hose Please! By Oskar Cymerman
- How to Bring ‘More Beautiful’ Questions Back to School by Mind/Shift
As we begin the new year, I’d like to draw your attention to the following resources:
- Subscribe to the daily collection of resources from Twitter: Catholic Schools Daily
- Subscribe to the Catholic School Matters podcast
- Subscribe to my personal blog
- Subscribe to this weekly newsletter
Have a great start of the school year!
– Dr. Tim Uhl