Sunday, August 7, 2016

4 Fabulous Thoughts to Instill in Your Class Beginning the First Day of School

I am beginning a new series here on Teaching Fourth called "4 Fabs with Teaching Fourth." This series will highlight a variety of subjects, thoughts, strategies, and more for your classroom and school year. With the beginning of school starting or approaching for many of you, I am kicking off this series today with, "4 Fabulous Thoughts to Instill in Your Class Beginning the First Day of School."
We as teachers have the opportunity to touch so many young lives each and every day! Knowing this, here are four fabulous thoughts that we can instill in our students each and everyday beginning the first day of school.


Teacher's Pet??/You are Special

The first thought that we should instill is, "You are special!"  Admit it. We all want to feel important and special to others around us. Even as teachers, we want our principals to let us know that they notice our hard work and effort. Our students have a desire for this as well, so we should convey this to our kiddos beginning on day #1.  Recently, a story was shared about a teacher who made all of her students feel that they were the teacher's pet. One child went home and told her parents that she was the teacher's pet. Another child went home and shared the same thing with his parents. Eventually, the parents in this classroom talked with one another and realized that all of their children had come home and told the same story, that they were the teacher's pet, and they truly all felt that way! These parents realized that this teacher had made each child in her classroom feel so special that each and every child felt that he/she was truly the teacher's pet. How great is that? I want to do that! I want my kiddos to feel that special! Don't you know that because of that connection this teacher had with her students, that these students worked hard, learned, and performed to their best abilities all year long! Yes, this year I want all of my students to feel they are the teacher's pet.

Others are Important. Treat them with Respect.

While we want each child to feel special and important, we want to teach our children to always treat others with respect and in a way that will make others always feel important. As we model how to treat others with respect, our students will have the opportunity to see this in action. Also, provide opportunities for student to make others feel important and show respect. In one classroom recently was an autistic child, who just three years earlier could not speak. This child was new to the school, so (while this child was not in the classroom) the teacher explained to the other children that this student would be learning differently and would need help with finding the classroom his way around, his supplies and materials, remembering items when exchanging classes, and help in the lunchroom, etc. Well, this amazing group of students knew the importance of making everyone feel important, and they went above and beyond! Not only did they help this sweet child each an everyday, they celebrated and applauded later in the year the first time he answered a question in a class discussion correctly! They applauded and celebrated his accomplishments when he was able to participate in a Smartboard activity, and they made his mother cry when they applauded and celebrated him receiving an award at an assembly....There were too many celebrations to list. Sometimes teachers learn from students, too, how to make each and every person feel important!

Make Improvements

We all make mitakes mistakes. (Yes. The typo was unintentional.) Let your students know that you are not perfect. I personally tell my students on day one that I am often not a morning person. Sometimes I am very quiet in the mornings. I am not mad or upset. I am just not talkative that early in the mornings. I also let them know that I mess up...often, but when I do, I'll apologize and try to do better and not make that same mistake again. They need to learn to do the same, take ownership of their mistakes, and improve upon them. Students need to see that teachers are human too, and how to graciously admit mistakes and make corrections. It is so difficult to be upset with a student who does something wrong, but after talking to him, he hugs you and lets you know he will try better the next time. Isn't that what we are there for? To help our students learn, grow, and improve in all areas.


I Believe In You

From day #1 students need to know that we believe they can do everything that we ask them to do. We believe in them as a student and as a person. Your precious students may not hear this at home. We as teachers may be the only people this year encouraging and believing in a child. What a difference we can make in this child's life. I firmly believe God has placed each and every child in my classroom for a reason. No matter how gifted, how chatty, or how challenging a child may be, there is a purpose for that child being in my classroom. I want to reach each and every child and help each and every child reach his/her potential because I believe in each child!
By instilling these 4 thoughts in your students beginning the first day and every day throughout the school year, we are helping our students to grow and develop good character that will benefit them not only this school year, but for a lifetime.
My first day starts this week! I hope that whenever your first day may be, that you have a blessed  and wonderful day!


  1. What a wonderful post to read this Sunday morning! I completely agree with you on these four thoughts. It can be so easy to focus only on the routines/procedures and baseline assessments (they have their place), but I first want to connect with my kiddos! I will be thinking about these ideas when my first day of school starts next week. Good luck and best wishes for a wonderful school year!

    1. Thank you so much, Sally! Making those connections to our students is so important. I hope you have a wonderful school year too!