A thing I love about going back to school is the opportunity to do it right.  Every fall is a new chance to become the teacher I hope I can be. Every year I pick up a bit more from my students, colleagues, parents, administrators, not to mention blogs, books and summer workshops. Every year I come back ready to implement some new ideas a get it right in my classroom.

This year I am focusing on three core ideas:

• Respect one another

• Learn a lot of Spanish

• Have fun

All three are equally valuable. All three are motivating. More of a chord than a tone, I suppose. I can only keep a few big ideas like these in my head and I think these three are broad enough to guide us through the school year.  All of our first days in class will be spent modeling and defining how we respect one another, how we learn a lot of Spanish, and how we have fun.

The affective component to teaching is so powerful that we have to get that established right from the start. This is the respect one another piece. So I tell my students that I want everyone to know that they are welcome here, that we respect you and we want to get to know you. But we do more than just talk about it, we model it every day. Every day in class we have a get-to-know-you time, mostly in Spanish.  I will explain the process in detail in an upcoming blog.

I realize that I will never get it exactly right, but the new faces before me this year motivate me and encourage me to try.