I think it's appropriate that the September newsletter be focused on " Returning Back To School - The New School Year", in other words, a back to school survival kit.

Welcome Back!!!! Does it feel like Deja Vu - like you never left?

I now how hectic it is in September. There's so much to do, especially in the first few weeks of the school year.

New students - learning to spell their names properly, meeting new parents (who may have different last names), setting up classroom rules and routines, and of course starting to teach new units/themes, etc., etc., etc....

Remember to start the year by writing a teacher introduction letter to parents. In the letter, introduce yourself, your teaching philosophy, and the student agenda (where many a teacher letter to parents is written). Read my sample welcome back to school letter to start building a strong relationship with my students' parents.

I have laid out many teaching strategies and suggestions about classroom layout ideas, classroom seating arrangements, and activities to get to know your students quickly on my website. Check them out and hopefully they will help you out with the transition.

New students may arrive daily and sometimes grade changes may occur because the projection of the school enrollment was off. A split grade may become straight or vice versa, a teacher who was teaching a straight grade may now end up teaching a split. If you end up with a split, check out my page on teaching split classes.

Perphaps in your school, you have new staff members or adminstration that you have to get to know or "you" may be the "new kid on the block".

And of course, the dreaded "Meet the Teacher Night" (which I always called "Meet the Creature Night" - but who's the creature, you or the parents), or "Curriculum Night" or "Open House".

Depending on the school, that night can be informal (e.g. school BBQ & drop in to the classroom), or formal - where everyone meets in the auditorium or gym - with a welcome speech from the principal, introductions of all the staff and then to the classrooms where you have to do a presentation.

Even though this is not an interview session, the parents inevitably ask, "How's ____ doing?" Hard to say when it's just 2 or 3 weeks into the school year. But, you've got to say something. Remember to be pleasant and professional. Be sure to read my strategies on meeting parents for the first time.

You have also been busy trying to get the classroom ready for this particular night; e.g. putting up students' art (and that's why you have Art during the first week of school), and/or their work, decorating bulletin boards, creating a welcoming environment.

Also remember to post your schedule of when you have physical education and library, you don't have to continually repeat it to the parents.

One last important thing you must do is to photocopy all the subjects' expectations from your curriculum guide and tape the pages in the classroom so that they are visible for the students and parents to see (use coloured paper as a border background). If you already know what expectations you will be using for the first term report cards, highlight them so that they both will be aware of what's expected the first term.

Even though you will be super busy, you will feel that September does drag. But, start teaching your units/themes/concepts as soon as possible, because before you can blink, October will be here. And, you know what that means .... Thanksgiving (in Canada), Halloween and .... report card writing (sorry about that folks).

That's why I'll be dedicating the October and perphaps November newsletter to REPORT CARDS!!! - Being accountable, assessments, report statements, qualifiers for the 4 different levels (4 being the highest, 80-100% or A, etc.etc.).

Sooo, for now, take a deep breath, try not to stress out too much, read the many different pages of my website for motivation and inspiration and ENJOY your new students. GOOD LUCK.

Happy Trails


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