The beginning of the school year is always filled with such an array of emotions. Students charge forward through their summer breaks with the anticipation of that first day; yet when it arrives, nerves can take over, for students and parent, as well as teachers. On that first day, nervous ‘hellos’ are exchanged, students look their teacher over and imagine what the day will hold, and teachers hope their students feel loved, appreciated, and noticed. I felt many of these emotions on my first day and the joy I felt as each child’s face peeked through the door settled my heart and filled me with such excitement for the year to come.
We spent our first few days building a sense of community and quickly our mutual feelings of nervousness gave way to excitement, familiarity, and a budding sense of family. The first weeks of school establish and continue to deepen the sense of community, reinforce mutual respect among students and teachers, and lay a foundation of kindness in the classroom and school. It was a joy to experience the genuine respect our first graders had for each other as they greeted one another by first name in morning meeting! We have been continually reinforcing kind and considerate gestures in class through our speech and actions. As we introduced stations and workplaces, students were encouraged to show confidence and practice their language skills via conversations with their partners. We talk daily about the importance of kindness, patience, and being respectful. When one of us speaks, student or teacher, we listen. We ask for things politely, and we offer help if it is needed. We are a community, and a family, and that is reinforced daily by creating a learning environment that allows students to learn in a deep and meaningful way.
We will continue to develop the relationships in our class, encourage collaboration, exploration and risks, and reinforce a love of learning in your awesome first graders. This is a class full of curiosity and wonder, big personalities, and compassion. I am very excited to see where our mutual love of learning takes us this year! Thank you for sharing your first grader with me!
Ms. Tuomi has over five years experience in ASD, where she taught first and fifth grade classrooms. An avid skier, Ms. Tuomi is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Alaska Pacific University’s Bachelor of Arts in K-8 Education.