Welcome to another school year and no matter whether this is your first year or your 29th year of teaching (that is me), the beginning of September brings forth both the anticipation of thrills and chills. I have spent the last 29 Augusts anxiously preparing, planning and remodeling my classroom to create just the right start for my classroom. A start that will engage my students, a start that will let them experience what a fun and active learning environment they are entering into and most of all, a start that will make them believe that they will be valued, challenged and will work together to help everyone reach their potential.
Together Everyone Achieves More Success
My name is Mike Beetham and I am starting my 29th year of teaching. I have the amazing opportunity to teach an area behaviour class in the Waterloo Region District School Board. I work with some of the most complex Junior age students in our board.
There are five things that I attempt to accomplish with each start to my classroom.
First and foremost is to make a connection with my students as people first and then as students.
Secondly, I set a tone of fun, hands on learning.
Thirdly, I dive headlong into academics by selecting a starting unit that will engage my audience. This year I am starting with a theme of ‘Then and Now’. We will examine a variety of items or trends about the year they were born and compare them to our current year. Items will include, popular video games, winning sport teams, popular movies, and cost of items. I will be learning along with them as I model the task using my year of birth (1959). Did you know that a postage stamp only cost 4 cents back then? I am aging myself.
The fourth is that our classroom is community whereby everyone has a responsibility to make it work. I start this process through the development of a classroom agreement that is worked out by the end of the first week and the sharing of the expertise within the room. I do not nor do I need to know everything about everything. I will capitalize on the talents and skills within the class.
Finally, I demonstrate to my students that this room is going to be a safe place physically, emotionally and intellectually. The message is sent often, consistently and in a calm and straight forward way to students that in no way, shape or form will disrespect toward each other be allowed.
The plan for the above five items are a proactive approach rather than a reactive response. They are all carefully thought out, planned and put in place based on my understanding of the grade level, individual student needs and setting that I will be working in. Good luck with your start!