Back-to-school ads are everywhere. Supplies are stocked at all the local stores. As a teacher, I cannot ignore the fact that school will start soon. This realization leads to a renewed focus on connections.
I was recently speaking with some young educators preparing for upcoming New Teacher Induction. Such a stressful time with so much information. My advice to them? Focus on making connections!
The first year of teaching truly is the hardest. There are so many unknowns. Setting up a classroom, school expectations, new curriculum, etc. But one friendly, helpful colleague makes all those unknowns less scary.
Positive relationships with other teachers lead to positive relationships with students. Making time is key. Students come to school with personal stories. Stories they are eager to share. And they want to know about their teacher as well. Sharing these stories lays the foundation for learning.
Since I am transferring to a new school this year, there will be many new stories to hear. I am thankful for some familiar faces sprinkled throughout the building. Previously established connections which offer encouragement. But my students? A sea of unfamiliar faces and new names.
Some days the task feels overwhelming. Then there are days like yesterday. A much-needed visit with an encouraging mom and her two sweet kids, now former students. Laughing and talking, saying “Thank you” and “I will miss you.” I left with renewed confidence for the coming year and a reminder of the power which comes from making connections.
That first day will be here soon. I will stand at my door and greet those new faces with a smile. The music playing in the background will be the next step in creating new connections. Connections which will grow and be revisited right when they are needed.