This conversation will focus on the first five days of school. Too often we see these first few days as a "nuisance." A time to quickly move through necessary paperwork and get to the "real stuff" the content. This conversation will ask teachers to rethink that approach and see the first five days as a time to spend relationship building with students. A few years ago I made the bold decision to spend the first five days truly getting to know my students and letting them get to know me. I have never looked back. The work done in those early days has allowed me to create a classroom climate of trust and community. If we want students to learn from us, they need to trust us. Through this conversation I believe we can come up with some actionable item to help us make a personal connection with each student and create a learning community where students feel safe, loved and supportive. Research has shown that students learn best when they feel safe. The first five days are crucial in students “buying in.” This conversation will be about thinking beyond the “name game” and really changing the way students begin the school year. How we spend those first five days (2% of our entire school year) makes a world of difference in how students perform during the other 98%.
Elizabeth is a high school history teacher in Massachusetts. She is the author of Flipping History: How to Start Flipping Your Class Today and runs Penny University Press and Educational Services where she blogs about a variety topics in education. She holds Master's Degrees in both Communication and Education and is interested in how technology can be used to relationship build and create student centered classrooms.