First Two Weeks of Teaching

The first two weeks flew by on light speed status. Those first two weeks of teaching are a time for backing your ideal classroom environment. This is the easiest time to build culture. My pedagogy, or teaching philosophy, is super simple. Everyone has the capacity to be great. Simple as that. I encourage my students to find shortcuts in their assignments, while maintaining that we’re here to provide quality, not quantity. I’m still waiting for that day when I pose an open-ended question on the board (part of my English program to encourage students to just write, about whatever – because communication is key and a major reason why Language Arts is so disengaging is because of the limited ways it is utilized) and a student answers with one sentence, or with one word. That’s thinking outside the box. That’s different. That’s being unique.

 

The first two weeks are spent establishing routines and refurbishing dusty brains. Getting back into routine is something that students and teachers both need in order to build for another ten months of learning and growing. This year, I came in with the mentality that I would make a more conscious effort to allow my students to teach me. This means that I would attempt to stimulate conversations that went beyond curriculum and delved into dialogue about ourselves. I went into my first day, and effectively first week, with no lesson or day plan. I went in hoping that my students would create the environment that would be most comfortable and beneficial to them. It is still early but I think that we arrived at this.

 

After two weeks, a teacher should establish one major standard. That is the idea that the teacher, in whatever capacity she comes into the classroom, should, “say what they mean, and mean what they say.” What you want in your students should be communicated, modeled, and established in these first two weeks. If you are concerned with something as simple as keeping a clean classroom, instill this during those first 10 days. If you want your students to learn from you, and only you, you can establish that as well.

 

There is also one staple you have probably heard that you should immediately discard. This is the idea that “you shouldn’t smile until November” Please get rid of this. This is not authentic and it does nothing but make your class easier to manage. Classroom management should be the least of your worries. Real teachers choose this profession because they want to impact the next generation. Where does classroom management fit into this ideal? If it does, it is long down the line of things that you should be concerned about.

 

Two weeks is a good standard of establishing your role as the lead learner but also the environment you envision for your classroom. Hopefully you used these two weeks productively. If you didn’t, you still have until the end of September to re-brand your baseline philosophies.

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Matthew R. Morris

Educator, Speaker, Writer

Matthew R. Morris is a writer, speaker, and elementary educator in Toronto. He has an M.A. in Social Justice Education from OISE at the University of Toronto and is the author of the forthcoming book, Black Boys Like Me. 

Matthew R. Morris

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