The following letter is part of my activity for the first day of school. Basically, it is a cover letter (which I pair with my actual resume) for my own teaching position. Read on for how to integrate this lesson into your first week!
If you are anything like me, you AGONIZE over the first days of school. I scroll through Pinterest, evaluate my own past lessons, ask my colleagues, and creep on Twitter just to find something that checks all my boxes.
This year, however, I think I have a plan!
While in Texas for more training, my BTFF (Best Teacher Friend Forever) and I were pouring over what we wanted the first week to look like. We have a shared goal this year of focusing on meaningful relationships upfrontn the past, we have built trust and respect with our kids, but it has been a long (difficult, at times) process with such a challenging class. This year, we want to start earning that trust Day 1.
Usually, that trust has come via a lot of transparency: modeling activities which force us to vulnerably demonstrate making mistakes, connecting everything to real life work or college, and general dorkiness throughout the year. This year, we came to a revelation about placing that transparency at the beginning of the year. What is more transparent than allowing the kids to interview us?
So on the first day of school, the kids will be given my resume, this cover letter, and our district's banks of general interview questions. From that, they will have 10 minutes to revise or replace those questions with their own. [Note: Our instructional coach is going to step in to cover for us here or we plan to swap rooms. This keeps the questions authentic and spontaneous.]
Then, the scary part. The kids get to ask their questions, and we're going to answer them honestly. I am so anxious about the whole thing that I have been practicing my responses to hypothetical questions in the car or shower.
After, we are going to ask students to come up with their own "academic resumes." Instead of jobs, they will list the grades they have completed with skills learned in each. The rest of the week, then, we will interview them individually while students complete their diagnostic assessment.
And that's the plan! It is scary and awesome and focused. It is also very REAL (something I am reading about in Tara Martin's Be Real: Educate from the Heart). I know I am nervous about the interview portion, but those nerves tell me I'm moving in the right direction. It is easy to throw a diagnostic at them on day one or play some ice breaker games. True vulnerability (and therefore, taking risks) should make you nervous. Passionate teaching requires a whole lot of healthy anxiety.
Contact me for the academic resume template or the student interview questions! Or if you just wanna hear how it goes, check my Twitter on Aug. 28. (Maybe the 29th. First Day Cwik usually falls asleep the second she gets home).
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