It’s definitely been a while for us here at Educational Express. We may not have mentioned this before but it is just the two of us here, making sure this locomotive keeps running. With that being said, welcome back if you already are teaching, or will be soon. I wont be officially back teaching until September 3rd.
In our first post of the 2019-2020 school year I to want briefly write about a post I always see circulating around this time of year, which is: “Why you shouldn’t ask you students how their summer was”. The main points throughout explain that, for various reasons, students may not have gone on vacation. A student’s home life may be less than ideal. In fact, school is where they want to be and they’ve been looking forward to coming back since the first day of their break. I think this is an extremely important message to remember, not just for the first day of school, but for entire year. Let me explain.
When I think about this message, it’s not only simply being kind and courteous to the less fortunate students in our class, but it is also a sense of equality and equal opportunity, creating a level playing field for all our students.
So after the first day of school we need to carry that philosophy forward for the entire year; by creating a room where every student is still given the same opportunities to succeed. Just like they were all given an equal opportunity to write about something different that put all students on an equal footing, no matter any advantages or disadvantages they came in with.
We need to always make sure students have the exact same resources. Some students will come fully prepared, and others will just bring themselves. In order to create equal opportunity and equality in our classroom, we as teachers are the great equalizer. We can ensure that those who may be disadvantaged can have the same opportunities in our class.
With that all being said it is also important to be balanced. We can even the playing field in our classroom to provide equal opportunity and equality, but our students are the ones who need to take advantage of what we have provided. There needs to be real learning on their part. They have a responsibility of showing up everyday, completing their work and asking for help when needed. Equality also means, everyone gets to struggle and work through their individual problems equally.
As teachers we cannot always go the extra mile or simply step in to help those who may need our help more than others. All students, regardless of background, must face and feel those natural consequences, especially when they are being given the opportunities and tools to succeed.
This is particularly important for students who come from advantaged backgrounds. Those from good homes also need to see and feel that because they came in with advantages to start that they are not indirectly punished for this, such as receiving less teacher time or praise. Or simply that what is a problem to them as a individual is not dismissed as something trivial because it doesn’t compare to another student.
As I come to an end here, this post reminds me about the life of a teacher. How someone (like myself right now) is trying to tell others how to balance and conduct their classroom, especially those who have never taught in a class room (business people and politicians). In no way or means am I attempting to tell you how to conduct your classroom, you know best. This is really just the thought that crossed my mind as I read the post about not asking students to write about their summer, and how much deeper it really goes, beyond that first day of school.
Have a great first day back to school if Tuesday is you’re first day back, and remember it’s just day one tomorrow! So don’t forget to take care of yourselves as we push throughout the year.