First Days? Begin With the End In Mind.

I am in limbo. For 7 of the past 10 years I have taught 8th grade language arts (three years in the middle I was an academic interventionist). There is a possibility I will be moving to 6th grade for this school year.

This year. The one that starts in 14 days – 7 of which I will be out of town.

Normally by now I will have my room set up and ready to go – able to fully enjoy my last days of summer by doing whatever I want because there is nothing I feel like I HAVE to do. But, I don’t want to set a room up I might have to pack away, so I haven’t done anything.

This unknown and uncertainty is frustrating and stressful.

By now I like to have pictured my first week or so – with rough outlines of lessons. Ideas on how to get everyone up to speed on my classroom rituals and other procedures. Everyone getting to know each other.

But, I’ve been mostly frozen. How can I possibly plan the first days of school when I don’t know what I’ll be teaching?!

Then – just a short while ago – my perspective changed. I can do some truly great work while living in this limbo.

I’ve got the opportunity to create a clear vision for what I want my class to be this year. Not the physical space, or even the curriculum and materials, but the emotional space, the environment, our culture. Regardless of what I end up teaching, that cultural element should be the same.

By not being tied to any specific curriculum at the moment, I can focus in on what activities and experiences will truly lead to the vision I want.

So, I ask you to think about your initial plans. What type of space would you want to create for your students regardless of the content? Age level? Number of students?

Really focus in on what you want for your students this year, and work to create that before you get wrapped up in content, standards, and the day-to-day dealings of education.

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