As a writing activity, we each chose a topic and wrote "the unofficial and unwritten rules" for that topic. It's from Kelly Gallagher's Write Like This. To model it, I wrote these. Your mileage may vary.
Note: This is one of the few times I'll write in the 2nd-person. Normally, I abhor an author telling me what I will feel or how I will react (You'll this and you will that). It's basically the only way this writing activity works, though.
|cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo by Krissy.Venosdale: http://flickr.com/photos/venosdale/5974107265/|
- Your students' struggles are your struggles.
- If a student asks when they're getting a new seating chart, it means the class needs a new seating chart. Just because the seating chart seems to be working from your view, doesn't mean it's working for them.
- Eating lunch by yourself isn't a bad thing, on occasion. Don't make it a habit.
- You know how you start to see your children as little mirrors reflecting the things you say and do? Same with your students.
- Your 6th graders will become 8th graders much more quickly than you expected.
- You'll have students who don't love your class. They may even say they don't like it. They may use stronger language than that. You won't take it personally. You'll work to help them find the one thing they like about your class. It may take all year. But you'll show them you care. And they'll swing by your room randomly over the course of the next few years.
- The word "rebuttal" will get laughs from sixth graders because it says "butt" in the middle of it. That's right: in the middle of the word.
- If they didn't learn it, you didn't teach it. And that's hard to swallow.
- If they didn't learn it, you have to ask yourself why didn't they learn it? Because, often, it wasn't because your lesson was bad. It's because there was something in the way between them and your lesson.
- Work with that something that gets in the way between teaching and learning.
- You will be asked questions. Oh, there will be questions.
- "I don't know" is an appropriate response, if used sparingly. Yes, I know "I don't know" shows them that you're not perfect and you still have things to learn, but let's not kid ourselves. We're talking about 6th grade English. There really isn't much I don't know about this stuff. And that's a good thing.
- In August, you will be introduced to your students. In May, you will say goodbye to your kids.