The start of a new school year gets our imaginations running wild with possibilities. Whether it is a new resource we discovered over the summer, a strategy we learned at a workshop, or the pure excitement of teaching a new group of students, coming back to school always reminds us why we started teaching in the first place.
Here are a few reasons why we, ThinkCERCA's team of former educators and teachers, still feel like a kid with nervous butterflies of excitement on the first day of school.
A Fresh Start
There is so much possibility in the air at the beginning of the year. The summer allows for true reflection to inform your instructional decisions for the new school year. We only get better when our experience is coupled with reflection.
Everybody is re-energized after the long break, and any troubles from last year are a distant memory. This is a fresh start for every member of the school community, and as such, the school culture changes with every year. Some students or parents might have had negative experiences before with academics, teachers or peers. This is a great time to try out new initiatives and procedures to set the foundation for a great year.
Getting to Know Students
Meeting new students is, by far, the best part—it’s like making 30 new friends in one day. While exciting, it can be overwhelming trying to get up to speed on students' socio-economic backgrounds, learning styles, personality traits, and so much more. Luckily CERCA Starter makes it easier to gain baseline measures on students from Day 1. CERCA Starter lessons, quick introductions to key literacy concepts and vocabulary, come with built-in leveling assessments that let you know where the student stands on certain reading and writing skills, so you can plan a course toward improvement and track their progress throughout the year.
Catching Up with Old Friends
You may only have time to wave as you pass each other in the hall, but it’s always great to reconnect with the school community. As former teachers, we always liked it when students from previous years stopped by the classroom. It is always crazy to see how much kids change in just three months.
Take a moment to catch up with your colleagues over coffee. Collaboration among teachers is key to tracking student progress across disciplines. Break down the barriers between subjects and grades by opening up the lines of communication among the team to spend more time talking about students to improve outcomes.
Setting Up the Classroom
The new year brings a clean slate… and a clean desk. As teachers we all love to recreate our ideas from the previous years just to make them better. Having the time to relax and refresh over the summer opens up the opportunity to try out new things.
This is a great time to try out new classroom ground rules and procedures. Try out a new theme, new activities and new ways to get organized and improve upon your classroom style and skills. Even something as simple as rearranging the furniture can open up a new addition to the blended learning environment.
The warmth of a lingering summer leads into crisp fall afternoons. That makes recess so much more enjoyable than the chilly February afternoons that may keep kids cooped up indoors. Add in colorful leaves, pumpkins and apples, and you have a great backdrop for creative thinking. We like to open up the windows and keep the fresh air flowing along with the ideas as long as we can.
Let’s be real—sometimes that fresh feeling of possibility doesn’t last that long with our time being devoted to an infinite number of tasks on a daily basis. Hold onto that excitement as long as you can. ThinkCERCA's personalized content, tools and resources give teachers some of that time back, so you can focus on what you truly love—teaching!