I have found that students often look at the beginning of a new semester as a new beginning for their success in the classroom. They want to have better grades, and just be a better student in general. Teachers should use this new beginning as a positive effect in the classroom. Integrate high interest material and instructional strategies into your instruction. Make your first student assessment one that will reinforce the anticipation of the students that this will be a better semester for them. Then send as many positive notes to their parents as possible in which you acknowledge the early effort and success of their children.
Often as teachers, we also need a new beginning. Maybe the fall semester was difficult for numerous reasons, and you have developed a negative spirit toward your students, the administration, or the educational system in general. This negative spirit may be something that you never thought would happen to you. At this point, it is important that you climb out of the negative pit. First, be honest and admit where you are in your professional life. Second, determine what caused you to go down this path. Get a pen and sheet of paper and write down all of the success you had last semester. Don’t short circuit this activity; write them down. Be sure to list the growth you saw in many of your students. Put this list in a place where you will see it numerous times during the day. Make a commitment to have personal contact with as many students as possible in the first few weeks of the semester. Keep sending those positive notes home to parents.
To be honest with you, I am deeply concerned about the future of education in our country and how our children will be impacted. Regardless, when my students enter my classroom, I am going to close my door and provide a positive learning environment. I refuse to let the negative political and social climate in this country destroy the joy of my classroom.
Bless you my children,
Terry L. Simpson
Image credit: https://kauaifestivals.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/peacealoha2017.jpg