Packing our Backpacks for a Good Year

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Beth Pinyerd

By Beth Pinyerd

Сlassroom Observer would like to extend warm wishes, hope and joy for a good school year for teachers, students and families.

Whether you send your child to school or homeschool your children, we have a very important goal, and that is to teach children. A fresh new year of new students, goals and lessons to teach, we welcome the 2022-2023 school year, which is just around the corner.

I have always taught early childhood and elementary grades, but at joint teacher institute meetings with junior high and high school,  teachers glean from each other, and we know we are all on the same mission: to teach many different personalities, learning styles and needs. In order to meet the challenge, it is so important for us to be prepared. We teachers need to pack our heart backpack with spiritual, emotional and physical supplies. As I reflect on teaching years gone by, I do remember that my class and I had ups and downs even on the first day. But being called into the classroom to teach has so many wonderful rewards that count for eternity. From an anonymous author in one of my favorite books, “Teachers are a Gift from God”, I have adopted this teacher acrostic to encourage me and other teachers.

T-Teaching takes time,

E-Energy, paying

A-Attention to all the

C-Children,

H-Helping them,

E-Encouraging them,

R-Reaching out to the quiet one and

S-Sometimes simply being there.

As we teachers call each name on our roll on day one, we connect a name to a student, and we quickly acknowledge that we will need understanding as we instruct our students. As the year begins, teachers assess each student’s potential that we teach. We will want our students to know that we respect them and value them. We want to share knowledge and light the lives of our students with the love of learning.

We teachers desire our classrooms to be a place where students will learn, discover, create, question and grow. As we share our classroom rules with our students on the first day, we reflect and use wisdom when we must discipline in promoting the learning process and when to show mercy. Mother Teresa coined this so well: “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”

In our backpack of teacher preps, we prepare our lessons according to the age, abilities and developmental needs of our students. Young children learn so much by process where older students focus on content learning, but many subjects require both ways of learning.

We desire to equip students with life skills and provide inspiration to learn.

Parents, your assignments for the first day of school are to prepare your children with clothes shopping, school supplies shopping, labeling supplies with the child’s name and visiting the school with your child. “Meet your Teacher Day” helps to prepare your child mentally and emotionally to start back to school.

As a retired teacher who still enjoys volunteering in the classroom when I can, I still get so excited about seeing school buses, smelling new packs of crayons, sharpening new pencils, buying notebook paper, buying new school clothes and shoes, etc. In my teacher treasure box of teacher resources, from gleaning from other educators as well as from my own teaching experiences, I want to share some suggestions to our community families and parents on how to help your child get ready for a new year of school.

In early childhood, especially where your child is leaving the nest and going to school for the first time, this is going to be a new stage and new change for you and your child.

Be positive, enthusiastic and encouraging to your child who is about to make the change. This is a new stage in their lives and in your life, too.

As a parent, be sure to spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally prepare yourselves for these changes.

Children absolutely love routine. It makes them feel secure on what to expect next. I can remember and still see that preschool, kindergarten, first- and second-grade students have kept this teacher on a routine when we would get off a little bit.

Always say goodbye to your child with possibly a hug and reassurance. Let the goodbyes be friendly but firm. If your child whines or clings to you, please don’t prolong the goodbye. This makes it hard for you, your child and the teacher. We teachers truly can reassure our parents that your child quickly quits crying and engages in classroom routine as soon as you leave.

Make happy memories with your child in starting to school. Start on a happy, positive note with a good breakfast and discuss the day ahead with prayer and encouragement. At the end of these first days of school, focus on listening to your young child express their excitement and concerns as they adjust to the first days of school. Again, I stress, time spent with your child spells LOVE.

From Classroom Observer’s heart to children and families, have a happy first week of school.

Beth Pinyerd, Classroom Observer

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