My students will walking into my classroom for the first day of school in just seven more days. I'm trying to relax in the midst of preparing my brain and my heart and my bladder for kids to enter my room next week. I can't wait.
But here's the deal: I've gotten lazy and the first week of school is always hard.
In the summer, I drink a whole pot of coffee on my couch every morning. In the summer, I have to work really hard to get my 10,000 steps (It was so depressing I stopped wearing my Fitbit.). In the summer, I go to the bathroom whenever I want to. In the summer, I only wear flip-flops.
And then it's the first day of school. I drink coffee on the go, I have a bathroom schedule, and I'm wearing pumps. I have to retrain my body all over again. I have to train myself to be on my feet walking around almost every time kids are in the rooms.
Teachers, I beg you to stop sitting down. You are missing the best moments with your students and making it really easy for them to waste their time in your class.
When we sit down, we miss opportunities to teach students to work in spite of distractions. Students are sneaky, and they know how to go back and forth between apps and make it look like they're paying attention. When we sit down, it's even easier for them to do this because we're not tracking their progress on the task we've asked them to complete. I think it gets easy to become cynical and just say, "well, they'll have to learn and finish it for homework." But we need to do our best to keep students accountable. They don't like to admit it, but they do like boundaries and accountability. I want my classroom to be a place where they learn to work hard in spite of the distractions that might come their way.
When we sit down, we miss the most teachable moments. Some things are just hard to assess on paper. For example, teaching students to find credible sources is hard. But when we're watching what students are looking at as they research, we're able to talk to them about why they picked the source and any potential problems we may see with it. By having the conversation while they're in the middle of the task, we're able to give feedback when it's relevant. We need to look over our students shoulders and help them learn throughout the process, not just for the end product.
When we sit down, we miss out on the joy of kids. The first weeks of August are always miserable for me because I'm in my classroom without students. That's also why I haven't left the classroom to become a TOSA or work in the tech industry. Students give me so much joy in life, and when I sit down I miss out on their joy. I don't see them fall out of chairs. I don't see them help their friends. I don't see their reaction to what they're reading. I miss out on experiencing their joy.
Therefore, I know it's hard to do, but I encourage you to train your body to never sit down when kids are in the room this year. Greet them at the door. Walk around them as they're writing paragraphs. Ask them about their research. Be involved in the middle of the learning process, not just at the end. You won't regret the joy you experience because of them.