The first day of school this year absolutely wiped me out. I was exhausted. I didn’t understand why the kids were so worked up. Some periods I was having a really hard time keeping the kids’ attention. I didn’t get it. I thought I was loosing my touch. I don’t have days like this, especially not on the first day of school.
I talked to other teachers, and they had the same experience. The kids were really wound up, and having a hard time sitting still. And then I realized that it wasn’t the kids who were different, I was different. We have a new Principal this year, and I was concerned that I do everything the right way, by the book. So I planned go over the class rules, go over the course outline, go over the expectations, you know- all that boring first day stuff. That was the problem. We were all doing the boring first day stuff. Of course the kids were all wound up, we were asking them to sit still in these absurd plastic chairs (except for my room, were they have nice padded rolling chairs) while we talked at them. Well I talked at them anyway. And that was the problem, I was so concerned about doing it “the right way” I forgot that I don’t ever do it “the right way.”
Over the summer I had the opportunity to see a keynote by @fitzwalsh and then talk to him afterwards about my plans for the year. He introduced me to the idea that talking was the enemy of do. If we want our kid to do, then we need to stop talking about it, and well, do it. I was all excited about the new year, and how it was going to be all about DO. And how did I start? I talked. I fell into the trap. I went the traditional way. I talked. A lot. And it sucked.
From here on out, its DO.