Most New York City teachers met with their classes for the first time yesterday. It was a day to set guidelines, create the organization necessary for a smooth and productive year and learn some names. So, I'm ready to go tomorrow--at least until a handful of new students pass through my door.
I'm pleased with the day. There were no surprises. These usually turn out to be bad things at the high-school level. Not a single student stood up and pointed their finger at me to ask how come they got stuck in a classroom with a merely effective teacher, instead of a highly effective one. Everyone was civil.
I have reason to believe that it will be a good year. You might ask me how I know. It's probably just a feeling--and a feeling that in and of itself tends to make that feeling a reality: La Vie en Rose. If you're looking for something more concrete, I did have three students in three separate classes ask me which supplies need to be purchased for class. I don't ever remember this happening before.
A vision flash before my eyes. It looked something like this:
Deja-vu all over again. I relived my kids' grade 2, 3, and 4 supply list. I felt wholly inadequate before my high-school students. I was tempted to tell them to acquire 1 box of crayons (48 count Crayola), 4 large glue sticks, 1 box of classic markers, 1 black Sharpie regular point, one black Sharpie fine point...and so on and so forth until I reached the twentieth item. I could have added a cherry to the top by asking students to label all their markers, scissors, etc., with their name. I resisted.
So, what did I tell them? I told one class about the amazing class lists required at some elementary schools that help ensure learning is truly fun and relatively painless. I did not tell my classes to get markers though. I asked them to have a notebook in one form or another with a section designated exclusively for history notes. I told them they would probably want loose-leaf paper for homework because I would collect it regularly. I also told them that they will need a pen every day and a pencil for multiple-choice sections of tests. Looking on the bright side, I was happy that I did not need to ask my students to purchase a test-prep review book...yet!