Saturday, September 12, 2015

You Got This!

A new day:
Be open enough to see opportunities.
Be wise enough to be grateful.
Be courageous enough to be happy.
- Dr. Steve Maraboli

It never fails.  By the time you finish one school year you've grown completely attached to "your" kids.  You understand their strengths, weaknesses and what makes them tick.  The end of the year is really tough, you've invested so much in your kids that you often feel emotionally spent.

Years ago I finished one school year on an extreme high.  I had such a fantastic group.  I had leaders, comedians and truly a group of hard workers.  I loved those kids.  I remember meeting some of them in the summer for a team building exercise at Camp Somerset.  As I talked with parents and gave high fives to my former kids I had a sense that the upcoming year would not be as good as the previous one.

Later that day I drove home and listened to the radio.  A few songs played that stirred up memories. My overall mood was a bit down.

A few weeks passed and I happened to be at a local golf course.  I brought my boys along, not because they loved to golf, what they truly enjoyed was playing in the streams and looking for fish.  I was over by the putting green with my boys when a couple regulars walked up.  We laughed and watched the boys goofing around with their putters.  Then one of them said, "They sure seem different."  I chuckled and said, "You can say that again!"  For the next couple minutes we laughed at how different our own kids can be.  Then my friend said, "As different as they are we still love them."  

It was that simple comment that I remembered at the end of my first week of school.  Every class we teach is different.  The challenges are different.  The families are different.  The celebrations are different.  Yet kids are kids.  They need us.  They need our patience and love to help them succeed.

Most everyone is still in the beginning stages of a new school year.  If you have thought about your kids from last year then guess're human!  We all do it, we all think about the kids we had.

Here are a few things to think about:

1)  Every class is uniquely different.  Your students have hopes and dreams and need you to help them achieve them.

2)  Don't rush to judge.  If the first few days were tough that isn't necessarily an omen for the year. Be open minded and document patterns.  For example, do you have a student that struggles in the afternoon, but does well in the morning?  You may want to track this and see if you can discover patterns.

3)  Don't be afraid to bring in parents.  The better you get to know your students the more likely they are to be successful in your classroom.  Sometimes the best way to get to know them is through the parents.  This will also show families that you are invested in their child.

4)  Your first communication home should always be a positive!  If your first contact is a negative you will have parents on the defensive.  Find something to celebrate and start on a good note.

5)  Be patient!  Various articles state that routines are established in 21 days.  This is nonsense.  The true research shows that it takes sixty-six days for something to become a routine.  Check out How long it takes to form a new habit
This is not to scare, it is to remind you to be patient.

Starting fresh is not easy.  But I'm here to tell you that you've done it before and you'll do it again. You invest in kids.  You are passionate about changing lives.  You put your heart and soul into your work. And you know what... YOU GOT THIS!


Monday, September 14th:  NWEA Testing Window Opens
Tuesday, September 15th:  PTO Meeting at 7pm in the Library
Wednesday, September 16th:  First Early Release of the Year (2:35pm)
Thursday, September 17th:  School Board Meeting at 6:30pm (Board Room)
Friday, September 18th:  Drill in the AM

Articles Worth Reading:

Blaming and Shaming Teachers for low-level #EdTech Practices @plugusin

Time to bring Public Policy and Social Media together for Progress @MAStewartMA

ReinventED Kickoff Party @Kwadzki

Written with love on your 1st day of kindergarten @thomascmurray

Some dreams are not deferred @Jonharper70bd

7 Ways Happy Couples Deal With Disagreements Differently @marcandangel

Videos Worth Watching:

This is a MUST SEE!  #RippleEffect #PayItForward (4 min)

Social Media Revolution 2015 (4 min)

The Tale of the Wandering Piano Man (3 min)


  1. Hey Ben- with young 5 and Kinder, it is spring break and after Christmas before they are established! We forget HOW FAR WE BRING THEM IN A YEAR! In the wise words of Pete The Cat: "It's all good"...... :)

  2. Thanks for the reminder Ben! I was just talking with my kindergarten teachers about how much change happens in a year and the joys and challenges of starting all over again each year. What a unique and special opportunity we have as educators to work with a new group each year!


  3. As is typical with you, Ben, this is a great reminder for all of us. It's also so much fun to watch the videos!