While watching him smile and listening to him excitedly recap the events of the afternoon, my heart can't help but be happy. And it is this happiness, I realize, that all parents long to feel when their children come home from school. It is happiness in the knowledge that your child has found school to be a place where he or she is safe, enjoying learning and successfully growing into one of the many young people who will be the cornerstones of our collective futures. It is beautiful.
As a middle school teacher for the last fourteen years, I have most loved the first weeks of September. Those first days of learning about our students, seeing their excitement about the newness of it all, is what I look forward to and prepare for most of the summer. The energy in the middle school setting is almost palpable and it is fantastic! It is much like the happiness that my new little scholar is experiencing today.
I've sadly come to realize, though, that the genuine excitement for school often begins to decline as the newness of the school year fades. Especially now, in a time when education is evolving as a result of outside influences and pressures that feel so out of our control as teachers, it's easy for us to become overwhelmed and lose site of the positive energy that envelopes us in those first days and weeks of a new school year. If it's that easy for us to lose momentum, what about our students?
These thoughts lead me to pose this question: How do you keep your students engaged and motivated to learn once the newness of the school year fades? Since this blog is aptly named Middle School Matters Blog, and we know motivation matters, it would be wonderful to see some fantastic ideas and suggestions for keeping students excited about school beyond the first days of orientation. Please consider sharing in the comments below.
I hope your first days of this school year bring you as much happiness as they promise to bring our little man!