Day One: Your Impact Begins

A new year is upon us as our students arrive bright and early tomorrow morning. We have just enjoyed a relaxing summer, where we were able to recharge our batteries and are now ready to begin the 2019-2020 learning journey. Over the past two weeks I’ve seen all of you digging into your work, preparing for your students. Rooms are ready, lessons are planned, assessment strategies are in place and all we need now are our young learners. Are you excited? I am! Are you nervous? I am! I have to wonder how our students are feeling.

In our house, our four kids are ready to go. Bobby is looking forward to meeting Mr. Evans and seeing his buddies from last year. Eva has loved school from day one, and cannot wait to see what is new in grade four this year. The twins, Charlie and Maggie, are excited to be heading to grade one where they will be attending full time, even though Charlie has said he could use a little more time off. As a parent, I’m wondering how their teachers will get to know them. How will they engage them? How will they challenge them? How will they gather feedback from them to make tomorrow better than today?

Last week, at our opening staff learning meeting, we discussed John Hattie’s 8 Mind Frames for Teachers, as shown below:

  1. My fundamental task is to evaluate the effect of my teaching on students’ learning and achievement.
  2. The success and failure of my students’ learning is about what I do or don’t do. I am a change agent.
  3. I want to talk more about learning than teaching.
  4. Assessment is about my impact.
  5. I teach through dialogue not monologue.
  6. I enjoy the challenge and never retreat to “doing my best”.
  7. It’s my role to develop positive relationships in class and staff rooms.
  8. I inform all about the language of learning.

We had a very good discussion about these mind frames with our colleagues, even if it was slightly rushed. As you revisit this list, what are your thoughts about day one? How are you going to evaluate your effect every day? How will you keep the phrase, I am a change agent, in mind every day? Who will do the talking tomorrow? When does assessment begin in your classes? Will there be kids who walk out tomorrow who have not talked with you? What challenge are you looking forward to tomorrow? What will your impact be on the relationships in the staff room? Will you engage with your students’ parents tomorrow? How?

For some of us, tomorrow is day one of what has the potential to be a long, successful career. For others, it is another day one, like others that have come and gone. And for others still, it might be our very last day one. Regardless of the stage you are at, know that we cannot do this without you. What we are striving to accomplish; every adult will have a deep and thorough understanding of every student we work with as a learner, is a massive undertaking. Together we are better. Through collective teacher efficacy, there is nothing we cannot do. That’s what is so special about #WaldheimSchool. It’s an us with them mentality, not an us versus them mentality.

Enjoy day one. Create a great day for every student. And never forget: KNOW THY IMPACT!

Create a great week!

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