I didn't go to middle school (I was homeschooled and skipped 8th grade), so this is literally my first day of middle school.
I think about the last ten years of First Days, and these are the things that stand out to me:
- Students want to know what they will be doing, but mostly, want to know they will be loved, accepted, and safe.
- Reading a syllabus to them is a super boring way to start the year. That's not the tone I want to set.
- The questions are usually, 1) Will I have homework? 2) Can I get an A in this class? and 3) Will I like you, and more importantly, will you like me? That last question doesn't ever get asked. At least out loud. And the answers to the other two don't really matter.
- I'm always nervous. No matter how many years I've done this, I'm always nervous, and I'm never ready.
I feel very blessed to be at Del Mar this year. We are 1:1 with MacBooks, we have collaborative planning but in the context of a team where we are all capable and have different skill sets, and students are engaged in project-based learning. This is so different from my last year that it's hard to imagine all of the ways my teaching practice and pedagogy will change.
But amidst all that change, I really only have one job tomorrow:
to convince the students through both words and actions that I am committed to loving them and teaching them.
In that order.
If I can do that, the rest will be fine.