Spending Those First Few Minutes Wisely . . .

As I have been starting to dig in to some of the nitty gritty details of going back to school (job charts, rolling carts, and so on), I started to reflect on our daily schedule at school.

If your school is anything like my school, you will relate to the feeling that there are simply not enough minutes in the day to teach the content we are being asked to teach.  It can become overwhelming, can’t it?  I feel I do a pretty good job of keeping that pressure in balance.  I do the best I can and work very hard to NOT let the students feel that pressure!

The one time of the day that DOES cause me a little stress is the first ten minutes of the day.  We have our “specials” block (phy ed, music, art, and so on) right when the students arrive.  We have ten minutes from the bell until we are supposed to be downstairs and in our special class.  All the things I used to do to start the day have pretty much gone out the window!  Now I always feel rushed in the morning . . . to get their assignment books checked, to collect any notes, to deal with any playground crises–and most importantly–to try to connect and greet each and every student.  You know those mornings when someone comes in and you can just tell that something isn’t right?  Maybe there was a rough morning at home or they aren’t feeling well or a best friend said something hurtful.  I feel so bad sending students off to another class without having the time to touch base with them and “check in”. . .  but it’s hard to do everything in the first ten minutes!  I try to stand at the door and greet each child so I can get a quick “read” on their mood–but sometimes there are fires to put out!

How do YOU start the day?  Do you feel pressured to get your day started right away?  How do you transition students from their “home” world to their “school” world?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!