How do we prepare for the year?

I would like one day to ask a thousand teachers what is their ritual for beginning a new school year.  A stop at Staples?  A list of goals?  Mani and pedi?  A freezer full of portioned casseroles?

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It’s a nervous time for us as we push ourselves into the starting gate.  Lots of stamping and snorting.  The odd nightmare.

I keep a folder in my desk at school with notes for Next Year.  Then I go and just walk around my classroom, thinking my thoughts, imagining the kids coming in on the first day.

This year’s big change is going to be cigar box cell phone garages.  I have my desks arranged in groups of 4.  Each group will have its own cigar box with a stout rubber band.  Part of the opening ritual will be for kids to take out their cell phones, silence them, and place them in the cigar box with the rubber band holding the lid down.  I can easily check to see they’re all there, out of reach.  Inaccessible.  Ha!  Take that, distraction!

We’ll see how it works.  I’ll let you know.  Today I will ask my AP Lit kids to read the article in The Atlantic about cellphones destroying a generation as an introduction to the cell phone garages.  What would be great is not just compliance but buy-in.  (Who am I kidding?  Even compliance would be great.  But if they could see for themselves that they have to find a way to put some limits on their social media and electronic connectivity, I would have improved their lives).

But the point is that for teachers, hope springs eternal.  THIS will be the year we get it all figured out!  This is the year that we break away, out in front, with the wind in our manes, kicking up the divots and feeling our power.

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And we’re off!  May it be the best year ever.