I remember my first year of teaching. I was so excited. Like, all types of giddy, excited! I just wanted to start the year off where I had left student teaching. And thus, I jumped right into my school year with little-to-no community building, expectation setting, or get-to-know you activities. (WhatintheworldwasIthinking)
What little I did do, was not done enthusiastically. I wanted to have a classroom of kiddos who were working in full workshop model. I completely ignored my mentor's wise words of "Wait 6 weeks until you are in full swing. Spend time getting to know your learners". While 6 weeks is SUCH a long time, it is crucial to your classroom community. And holy batman did I learn that the hard way my first year of teaching. I had kids barking under tables, temper tantrums thrown, and lots and lots of tears. Mainly my own.
My second year I did a little better but it really took until my third year of teaching to get this. But seriously...
That doesn't mean don't start classroom routines. But it does mean get to know your students. It's not going to help you any if you start grouping kiddos before either of you are ready. Meet with kiddos 1 on 1. Work with them. Build a community. Play games. Earn their trust. Find out what they love. Teach them about who you are. This is the time in the year where pressure is low and you can do what you love. This is where my new product, Start the Year off Right in Secondary, comes in! It is chockfull of kid tested activities. I promise they will all be a huge hit! And you will be able to spend time building a community that respects one another. A community that works as a team. And most importantly, a community that you can grow and teach. I am by no means an expert on this, but I am slowly learning. And if anything, this is the most important advice I can give. Spend a full six weeks getting to know your learners. You won't be disappointed!
P.S. More details about my product, Start the Year off Right in Secondary, will be coming soon! So stay tuned :)