August 29, 2006

Newbies Caught in the Middle

Those poor new teachers at my school--a few of them concurrently getting their creditials--are being told two different stories on how to approach the first days of school. They are getting two sides from their instructors, the administration, and from other teachers at our school. Wow! Poor teachers.

So, dear readers (since there are so many of you), please chime in on which method for beginning school you choose:

A. Spend at least the first week, maybe even two, doing icebreakers and practicing rules and procedures. Once the classroom atmosphere is in place, begin curriculum work.

B. Begin curriculum work right away on the first day to set the tone for the year.

My ears are ringing already. These seem like narrow options to me. I bet most of you have a option C, don't you? So do I. It's a combination of both A & B. Been there, done that on both of these points. (It's what I get for taking advice from others and reading "expert" books.) I don't have much patience for icebreakers. Any of the "little activities" I might do with my students in the early days are actually some sort of assessment. If they aren't, I probably won't do it. I give them the quick run down on rules and procedures, but I'd rather practice true application. Sure, I'd like to set the tone for a nice collaborative, team-like classroom, but more than that I'd like the students to know right away that it doesn't matter if they think my class is fun (it would be nice if it weren't torture, though) because we have too much work to do.

And that's the simple answer.

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