Social media was flooded this month with first day photos since, let’s be honest, there are few expressions cuter than the first day of school look, filled with excitement and jitters. First days open the new possibilities for the year- a blank canvas of opportunities. As adults, we tend to make new year’s resolutions and make conscious decisions towards changes we want to see. Children, generally, greet the first day with a “This is going to be a great year!” attitude, simply because to them it is a given. Their outlook’s default is excitement.At Hebrew Day School of Ann Arbor we develop an environment where everyone knows one another. That said, there are levels of intimacy that come from time spent together and opportunity to engage in meaningful learning. With new students at our school and multiage classrooms reconfigured every year, there is a need to rebuild the classroom’s community. The teachers facilitate activities that allow students to create and explore, to converse and play, to learn the routines and the ways to follow them, and adjust to new teachers and their expectations. The first days and weeks of school balance these experiences with assessments and learning.
For me, this week is equally new. I am back in the classroom and infused with the contagious “This is going to be a great year!” charge that the students brought in. I find myself curious. I am curious about each student’s level, her way of learning, and her social interactions with peers. I am curious about the best ways for me to develop a personal connection with each child, to become familiar and involved in their learning styles, and to meet each student’s needs. I am motivated to create engaging activities that will help my inquiry become informative and enjoyable.
And as I am settling into the fast pace rhythm of the school day, relying on two decades of being a classroom teacher, I reconnect with teachers on a new level. Our teachers continuously share this path. As they prepared for the school year, they too were eager to greet their students with similar goals, looking forward to each of their unique students. And like the students, we share a feeling that “This is going to be a great year”!