I Cleaned the Toaster

Monday, September 1, 2014

In college, I developed a habit of cleaning to procrastinate. It was necessary for everything to be clean and in its place before I could start on whatever project/paper/presentation I had to do. So, this weekend, to prepare for the first day of school (tomorrow!), I cleaned the toaster. Among other things, but a clean toaster made me feel most assured that I was as prepared as possible for 150 teenagers to take over my life for the next 9 months.

Today, I worked on seating arrangements for the first day. I agonized over the seating plan for 2nd period (which will be the one I think I need prayers during this year!) because I knew some of the kids’ reputations. He couldn’t sit with her because they would talk, he couldn’t sit with him because they would fight, he couldn’t sit with them because they might throw things at me (he really can’t sit with anyone, but I digress). After spending a good half hour on this seating plan, I thought to myself, “You know what, it’s a new year. Everyone deserves a clean slate,” and I let the computer randomize the seating arrangement.

Now, I’m not going to say lie and say I didn’t make a couple of adjustments, but tomorrow I’ll tell my students that this is a new year. They get to make a choice of who they’ll become this year.

We’ll see how that works out for me.

My lessons are planned, my seating chart is done, notebooks are in cabinets, and my lunch is packed. I’ve done everything I can to prepare for them, now I just have to put on my teacher armor and give them the clean slate I know they deserve.

P.S. For my fellow teachers out there, I heard a relationship building strategy at a professional development this summer that I’m eager to try. It’s called the 10×2: you have a conversation with a student you’re trying to reach for 2 minutes every day for 10 days. They may resist at first (and you may too!), but be consistent. Start small, and eventually [hopefully] it’ll lead to a better relationship.