Go Slow to Go Fast.
I capitalize this phrase because it has become a kind of mantra for me whenever I am embarking on a new and important endeavor. If you skip building the foundation, your house will crumble. Crumbling houses/classrooms are not fun. Ask me, I have been there.
Go Slow to Go Fast. There are tons of parables, fables and stories that illustrate this point. Tortoise and the Hare and Three Little Pigs are two examples. Yet, when receiving our new students to our schools and classrooms in the first days of school, we are tempted to forget the pigs eaten and the loser rabbit.
Here is my Go Slow advice to you:
Take it slow and teach the routines, procedures, rules and values that your students need to be successful both in and out of your classroom. Model them, practice them, read about them, challenge them and celebrate them. I give you permission to take it slow, break it down and give your students the tools to be successful this year.
Take it slow for your own well being. Breathe deep, be present in the moment, cherish the small things and be grateful. Relax and smile. Enjoy the struggle and learn. The most important thing in the classroom is your relationship with your students. They don't care about prefect bulletin boards or the cutest name tags (though those things are very cool too). They care about being in community with you and their classmates. They want to belong.
Lastly, take it slow to HAVE FUN with your students. Everything you do should lead them believe that school is the most awesome place in the world and that you are their biggest fan. Be that awesome teacher that you want to be and they will LOVE you for it.
Sing from your heart and let everyone hear it,
Dance like everyone is watching and smile,
Love like you want your students to love,
Live like this is the best day ever.
Happy new school year!