Back to School

“Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that’s easy. What’s hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity” – Charles Mingus

Heart-a-Day #198:  Back to School

The first day of school:  Apprehension.  Fear.  Not sleeping.  Not eating.  Will I be liked?  Can’t I just stay home?

I’m not talking about students.  This is how the teacher feels!

To be honest – and beginning my nineteenth first day of school – most of my First Day fears have subsided.  I think it’s because I’ve become realistic about my expectations.  On First Day 2018, we kept things simple.  We entered the room, settled in and got busy with some table work.  We talked about rules, routines and rituals (like saying the Pledge of Allegiance and learning “I Am Lovable and Capable,” our class anthem.). We practiced using crayons, met new friends, listened to a few stories and sang a few songs.  While I pretty much know what to expect, I have to honor that many of my new students have no concept of school.  That’s why we keep it simple.  We keep it light and easy.  And fun.  We have the rest of the year to dive deeply into learning.  It’s simple.

Can you cast aside your First Day jitters and bring simplicity into your schedule?  Use the simplicity to observe.  “Hmmm, I like how this student is using crayons.  They’ve used them before.” Or maybe…  “How can I support this other student who can’t grasp the routine?”  Giving yourself permission to start the year simply will lead you to a year of strong and successful teaching.


(Access to these photographs does not constitute a transfer of copyright or a license for commercial use.  The images are for personal use only.  No portion of the images can be used without the expressed written permission of Michael B. Stanley, Jr.)

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I am an artist, musician, author and kindergarten teacher wanting to share what I have learned about teaching and making art.

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