New School Year’s Eve

It is the weekend before a new school year starts, and until I wrote that I honestly did not realize the gravity of this. I feel prepared and ready for my first day, first week, and first month. But really, how prepared can one be? Every new school year brings a new set of dynamics to one’s classroom, a change that not even the most seasoned teacher can be completely ready for. I’ve heard about “teacher dreams”. These are dreams, or in many cases, nightmares, you get as the school year approaches. These dreams happen the days leading up to that first day of school. I guess they are caused by the inner anxieties of realizing that one is essentially going back to school after such a long time off. I can say that I have not really had any yet, knock on wood. The days before the year starts are precious days worth savouring. No longer can I wake up at whatever time suits me, eat my breakfast at whatever time I like, and do whatever I feel like all day! The summer was enjoyable but I also look forward to getting into the school and seeing what this year has to offer. No doubt, it will be a year of growth, learning, and experience – for me as much as my students.

In regards to that first day back, it is true that nothing can really prepare you for that first day and especially those first few minutes. The best teachers are organized yet innovative. If you think the first day will be overwhelming for you, imagine how the students feel! Remember to take a second and slow down. Pause. Give your kids a breather. For me, organization is a key. I am naturally someone who is more inclined to go with the flow and respond on the spot. But I understand that when you have a million and one things that need to get done, putting pen to paper isn’t such a bad idea and will actually save you time in the long run. Lesson plans, unit plans, activity ideas, comment banks, are all things that can do nothing other than help a young teacher. I try to go over things with my students a few times to make sure that they understand.

The first day is one of the easiest but also most crucial days to set the tone for your class. Make sure you take advantage of the fact that although your students will be excited to be back around all of their friends and anticipating a new year, they will also be super receptive this day – picking up on your subtle cues as well as your “dos and don’ts”. Today is a day for you to learn your students but be careful…it is also a day for your students to learn you.


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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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