Friday, August 26, 2011

First Days at SEMS-East

A wonderful but busy couple of days in the books at SEMS-East. We welcomed 430 7th and 8th grade students into the building and I heard nothing but positive comments from teachers, students and staff. It was not perfect, some students could not find their class, some people overslept, and others could not find their bus or remember their locker combination. Throughout the days, I walked in and out of classrooms and noticed one thing; our teachers really love what they do. Students were engaged in what the teachers were saying and generally looked happy to be back in school. When I addressed the 7th grade class on day #2 at their class assembly, I asked them to raise their hand if they had a good day yesterday. I was never so proud to see one hand go up, followed by two more and when it was all counted I think every 7th grader had their hand up and I could see about 215 smiles. The biggest ones coming from the teachers, nurse, counselors and especially me. I understand that our building cannot be perfect everyday or any day for that matter. If the first two days are any example, this 2011-2012 school year is going to be GREAT at SEMS-East.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Welcome Back!

It has been great to see so many teachers coming back to the building in the past few weeks, excited to start the new school year. In talking with some we agreed that this is the time of year where we are attempting to get back on schedule, wake up early, plan the day and think a lot about the new school year. We also talked about the fact that everyone has either anxiety or excitement about starting the school year. Parents, students and especially educators spend at least one August night staring at the ceiling, tossing and turning and eventually getting up to begin a new day (usually still dark outside). This drive to prepare and the excitement that a new beginning creates is one thing that draws teachers to the profession.

What do you do when you can't sleep? I recommend writing down your thoughts. Turn them into goals and follow-up on them sometime throughout the year. I have encouraged my teachers to begin to BLOG. I have found that when you have these things running through your head and can't catch them the best thing to do is write them down and capture them. How do you get started? You can use any of the programs out there like Blogger or Wordpress, you could google "how to start a blog" or you could search on youtube "creating a blog". I would recommend any of the above or just begin writing. Create a word document or just the "old school" pen and paper and get your thoughts down. After you have your thoughts down I am sure that you could find someone else to help you upload you thoughts to share with some or many people.

Why share?

1. Accountability- why do so many people announce that they are starting a diet, beginning a workout plan or quitting a bad habit? Once you tell someone else what you plan to do they can keep you motivated to keep up with it.
2. Motivation- you could find someone similar to you and help motivate each other.
3. Resources- I would bet that many others are having the same sleepless nights and would be tremendous resources for you and conversely you to them.
4. Community- You truly become a community when you know more about each other. Whether it's something you have been planning to do or a new teaching strategy that you would like to try this year, your school community can become closer if they know more about you.

At SEMS-East this year, we will try to increase our sense of community by sharing some of the great things that are happening here with the community. I would hope that we can also share some of our struggles with each other to help overcome them and be able to share those stories as well.

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