Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Settling In For a New School Year

I love seeing teachers and students come back to a new school year.  Everyone always looks so bright eyed and bushy tailed because of summer break.  Time away from school truly revitalizes students, teachers and parents.  Students also come back with a level of excitement because they can see friends that they have missed connecting with for 3 months.  There is also a sense of adventure because this is a "New" grade level to experience. This is truly the most exciting and high point of the school year (a close second is the last week of school because of everyone celebrating the successes of the year.)
With all of that being said, we are now into week 5 of the school year and we all are in a groove (morning routines, class schedules, etc.)  The newness of the school year has worn off because it is no longer New in the students' and teachers' eyes.  I relate it to the honeymoon being over because all people involved are becoming more comfortable with one another like a family.  Expectations are firmly set by now and can cause students to start to have anxiety and/or rebellious type behaviors.  You probably are thinking what can I do to help... keep reading so you can keep your routines going smoothly without creating RUTS (problems).
As with all things that start to get into a groove, sooner or later the grooves can turn into ruts.  Ruts feel good because they are very predictable.  The problem with a rut is that over time you will eventually get stuck and not know how to get out of it.  These are my suggestions to parents, teachers and students to address possible ruts during the school year:

  1. Go to the source of the "Rut".  Teachers and parents truly appreciate direct communication with one another.  Realize by approaching the "Rut" with an open mind allows for all members to be willing to share the issue and seek first to understand so that the problem can be understood.
  2. Be willing to approach a "Rut" with open conversation.  This means speak from your heart on what is going on and how is affecting the child.  If one side comes in with accusatory language, this may shut the conversation down before it even starts.
  3. If possible, have a solution to the "Rut" so that it can be shared in the conversation while brainstorming ideas to help.  This will require that all sides talking are able to agree to the solution, or a Win-Win.
  4. Realize the best plans don't always go the way they should.  Mistakes happen, variables change, a cold front moves in (not really), but you get the picture.  Be willing to talk about what happens when you try a solution so that you can refine the solution to maximize the results.
  5. When all else fails, be willing to ask for help.  Our campus and community is filled with great resources and people who are willing to problem solve with you.  See if other teachers or staff have any suggestions.  Talk with other parents, they may have been through similar Ruts.

Hopefully you can see my point when addressing "Ruts" during a school year... always seek quality communication and be willing to be a team that works together.  As the old saying goes "We all are capable of doing great things, but we can be so much more when we work together."

Your Biggest Fan,

Mr. Fleming

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