Create a List

List Name

Rename this List
Save to
Back to the Top Teaching Blog
September 5, 2011

Building the Foundation for a Successful School Year

By Jeremy Rinkel
Grades 9–12

    Week Two of the 2011-2012 school year is already "in the books." I cannot believe how time is flying by so quickly. My students are beginning to transition from summer to school.

    Week Two of the 2011-2012 school year is already "in the books."  I cannot believe how time is flying by so quickly. My students are beginning to transition from summer to school. They are adapting to my teaching style and I'm doing my best to get to know and understand their learning styles. My mind is beginning to focus on ways to make this a successful school year for myself, my students, and my school. The three S's (Self/Students/School) are a work in progress for me. Each year, I strive to improve in these three areas, realizing it will be difficult to achieve perfection. Having a positive mindset and maintaining a balance in these areas will build the foundation for a successful school year.

     

    Self
    In order to give my students the 100 percent they deserve, I must first make sure I am prepared physically and mentally every day. Our lives are bombarded with many distractions that keep us from taking care of ourselves the way we should. I tend to struggle with getting enough exercise. Exercise and nutrition are very important for staying healthy during the school year. Another thing I tend to lack (especially during the school year) is sleep. America is a very sleep-deprived nation. Without adequate sleep, people cannot give 100% to what they do. Start today: Get into a workout routine before you get too far into the school year. Preparing mentally for your day also is important. As hard as it is, I attempt to put all distractions behind me and focus on what I plan to accomplish with my students. One way I prepare mentally is to review my lesson plans for the day. Every day, I attempt to lay out a variety of activities to use - though depending on class discussions and other factors, I may not have time for everything during my 45-minute class period.  

    Here's a copy of the weekly lesson plan form I use to lay out lesson activities:

    Lptemplate

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Download a PDF of my lesson-planning form.      

    Making an effort to focus on yourself physically and mentally will build the foundation for a successful school year.

    Students
    The reason we teach should be because of our students. Preparing our students for their futures should be our main goal as teachers. Having a good attitude and passion for your students' success can be Teachingteens extremely powerful. In his book Teaching Teens & Reaping Results, Alan Sitomer wrote, "I came to understand that if I was sunny and bright and optimistic and hopeful and tenaciously determined to forge on in spite of all my obstacles, my students, as if by osmosis or something, would also become sunny and bright and optimistic and hopeful and tenaciously determined to forge on in spite of all obstacles." Our attitude plays a very important role when spending time with our students. Building relationships with students has the potential to widen your "sphere of influence." One great way I have built relationships with students is by eating lunch with them. I am a lunchroom supervisor during my lunch hour and eat with students every day. Lunchtime is usually when teachers retreat into the lounge, but I encourage you to find a group of students and take time to eat with them once a week. Taking time to listen to them will give you additional things to discuss during class. Students also enjoy seeing me at extracurricular activities. Focusing on your students and making an effort to build relationships will build the foundation for a successful school year. 

    School
    Improving my school for my students is another thing I focus on as a teacher. I am a member of my school's school-improvement team and curriculum team. Our curriculum team and other faculty members spent a lot of time last year aligning our curriculum to the Common Core BottlecapStandards. Our school-improvement team attempts to meet monthly to discuss ways we can enhance our  students' experience. We also discuss ways we can improve our communication with parents. 

    Focusing on the school also involves focusing on the community. In 2007, I organized a Veterans Day assembly. Various American Legion members participated and Senator John O. Jones delivered a brief message. My Creative Writing class collected plastic bottles to recycle and used the bottlecaps to create a flag. Each bottlecap symbolized a soldier killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Giving a little time to focus on your school and community will build the foundation for a successful school year. 

    What are some things that you do to build the foundation for a successful school year at your school?

    Week Two of the 2011-2012 school year is already "in the books." I cannot believe how time is flying by so quickly. My students are beginning to transition from summer to school.

    Week Two of the 2011-2012 school year is already "in the books."  I cannot believe how time is flying by so quickly. My students are beginning to transition from summer to school. They are adapting to my teaching style and I'm doing my best to get to know and understand their learning styles. My mind is beginning to focus on ways to make this a successful school year for myself, my students, and my school. The three S's (Self/Students/School) are a work in progress for me. Each year, I strive to improve in these three areas, realizing it will be difficult to achieve perfection. Having a positive mindset and maintaining a balance in these areas will build the foundation for a successful school year.

     

    Self
    In order to give my students the 100 percent they deserve, I must first make sure I am prepared physically and mentally every day. Our lives are bombarded with many distractions that keep us from taking care of ourselves the way we should. I tend to struggle with getting enough exercise. Exercise and nutrition are very important for staying healthy during the school year. Another thing I tend to lack (especially during the school year) is sleep. America is a very sleep-deprived nation. Without adequate sleep, people cannot give 100% to what they do. Start today: Get into a workout routine before you get too far into the school year. Preparing mentally for your day also is important. As hard as it is, I attempt to put all distractions behind me and focus on what I plan to accomplish with my students. One way I prepare mentally is to review my lesson plans for the day. Every day, I attempt to lay out a variety of activities to use - though depending on class discussions and other factors, I may not have time for everything during my 45-minute class period.  

    Here's a copy of the weekly lesson plan form I use to lay out lesson activities:

    Lptemplate

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Download a PDF of my lesson-planning form.      

    Making an effort to focus on yourself physically and mentally will build the foundation for a successful school year.

    Students
    The reason we teach should be because of our students. Preparing our students for their futures should be our main goal as teachers. Having a good attitude and passion for your students' success can be Teachingteens extremely powerful. In his book Teaching Teens & Reaping Results, Alan Sitomer wrote, "I came to understand that if I was sunny and bright and optimistic and hopeful and tenaciously determined to forge on in spite of all my obstacles, my students, as if by osmosis or something, would also become sunny and bright and optimistic and hopeful and tenaciously determined to forge on in spite of all obstacles." Our attitude plays a very important role when spending time with our students. Building relationships with students has the potential to widen your "sphere of influence." One great way I have built relationships with students is by eating lunch with them. I am a lunchroom supervisor during my lunch hour and eat with students every day. Lunchtime is usually when teachers retreat into the lounge, but I encourage you to find a group of students and take time to eat with them once a week. Taking time to listen to them will give you additional things to discuss during class. Students also enjoy seeing me at extracurricular activities. Focusing on your students and making an effort to build relationships will build the foundation for a successful school year. 

    School
    Improving my school for my students is another thing I focus on as a teacher. I am a member of my school's school-improvement team and curriculum team. Our curriculum team and other faculty members spent a lot of time last year aligning our curriculum to the Common Core BottlecapStandards. Our school-improvement team attempts to meet monthly to discuss ways we can enhance our  students' experience. We also discuss ways we can improve our communication with parents. 

    Focusing on the school also involves focusing on the community. In 2007, I organized a Veterans Day assembly. Various American Legion members participated and Senator John O. Jones delivered a brief message. My Creative Writing class collected plastic bottles to recycle and used the bottlecaps to create a flag. Each bottlecap symbolized a soldier killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Giving a little time to focus on your school and community will build the foundation for a successful school year. 

    What are some things that you do to build the foundation for a successful school year at your school?

Comments

Share your ideas about this article

Jeremy's Most Recent Posts
Blog Post
Center-Based Tolerance Instruction Utilizing E-readers

Utilizing e-readers for center-based instruction has increased students' motivation, time-on-task, and focus. Read on for more on how I use centers in my high school classroom, and to learn about the center activities

By Jeremy Rinkel
December 9, 2012
Blog Post
Turning a Classroom Assignment Into a Scholastic Art and Writing Award Entry
When I teach novels, I allow students to express their knowledge of particular concepts through art and writing. Instead of creating a pointless assignment, students have a purpose, to create the best writing or artwork they can. You've probably done the same over the course of the year. If so, continue reading for information for helping your students submit the best of their writing and artwork to Scholastic’s Art and Writing Awards.
By Jeremy Rinkel
May 21, 2012
Blog Post
3, 2, 1 . . . Go for Launch!
A few years ago, I began teaching the book October Sky by Homer Hickam. Being from a rural area, my students face similar challenges to the ones Homer faced growing up in Coalwood, West Virginia. Continue reading to see three activities I did with my students during and after reading the book October Sky .
By Jeremy Rinkel
May 14, 2012
Blog Post
Managing Your Classroom When You Are Absent
Teachers are busy. In some cases, teachers are overworked. Getting ready for a substitute teacher is sometimes more work than just being at school. How do you make sure students are meeting your expectations when you are gone? How do you make sure that learning takes place? Continue reading for three things you can do to make sure your class is well-managed when you are gone.
By Jeremy Rinkel
May 7, 2012
Blog Post
Four Tips for Keeping Your E-reader Program Organized
The first year of utilizing E-readers in the classroom has been challenging at times, but through research and trial and error, I discovered some organizational tips to make it easier. Learn my top four tips for keeping an eReader program organized.
By Jeremy Rinkel
April 30, 2012

Susan Cheyney

GRADES: 1-2
About Us