Tag Archives: first day of school

Here we go again

School has started!  Tables are in groups, white board markers are ready, seating charts are made, and syllabus have been read.  We are officially back to school.  Happy end of summer, fellow teachers.

Every year, I want to tell my new students so much.  I want to tell them that I am there for them, truly.  I want them to succeed and I want them to understand and I want them to try their very best.  I also want them to fail and I want them to struggle and I want them to say that they don’t get it.  I want my students to experience what it is like to have a super easy time with something.  I want them to experience what it is like to have to struggle like hell to get something.  I want my students to experience life in all the nitty-gritty (but not too nitty-gritty because they are just 16 after all) that I can offer.

This may sound weird, but I tell all of my students that they will fail at some point in my class.  I don’t mean that they will get an F.  I mean that they will not do something as well as they thought they had.  They will have to give up on something they didn’t want to.  They will not meet their expectations.  I tell them that because I want them to know that failure is not the end.  Yeah, I know that quiz was hard and you got a C on it when you wanted a B.  What are you going to do about it?  Yeah, I know you didn’t understand the instructions and got a B instead of an A.  What are you going to do next time?  Because I think that when someone fails is when they really start to realize what they are made of.

I also let my students know that it’s okay to be wrong about something.  I’m wrong somethings.  I mess up and do things incorrectly.  And, you know what, that’s ok.  I’ve made it this far and to crashed and burned out (mostly).  I think we don’t let students fail enough.  I think we don’t let students try to pick themselves up without help.  I think we put the safety net too high.  Oh, there is a safety net, to be sure, but maybe we can let them try to figure out how to fall correctly before showing them that the safety net is there (maybe that metaphor got away from me a little, but you know what I mean).

So students, I really do adore all of you.  Yes, all of you.  But I am going to be harsh and hard and enforce things that you don’t like.  I am going to push you and push you because I know you can do better.  And I am going to help you out to the best of my ability every time.

Welcome to Ms. Doskocil’s class of 2017-2018.


Back to school

School’s back in session in Arizona.  For people with kids, that means back to school shopping, scheduling pick-ups and drop-offs, and going to parent night and spot meetings.  For kids, it means seeing friends you haven’t seen all summer, wondering how hard you classes are going to be this year, guessing who’s still dating whom, and finding out if your new teachers are cool or hard.  For teacher’s, it’s a slightly different set of worries, problems, and even relief.

Yes, I have a summer vacation.  And yes, I  enjoyed my summer vacation.  It’s the perk of my job.  Some people get to travel.  Some people get expense accounts.  Teacher get summer breaks.  But there are also negatives to having 2 1/2 months off.  I’m completely out of my daily routine.  I just spent 2 1/2 months sleeping in, reading, swimming and hanging out with friends (I’m aware that this does not sound like that much of a negative).  I’m out of sorts.  Ever taken a week away from work and it takes you a few days to get back in the swing of things?  It’s like that.  Except I don’t have a few days to get back in the swing of things.  Students are back in the class on Wednesday at my school and I have to be completely ready to greet them with a smile and a plan.

Well, they’re screwed.

To get teachers back into their grove, most schools have back to school teacher days two to three days before students began wondering the halls.  Teacher days sound nice.  In reality, it’s two to three days of none stop meetings where the administration talk about the vision of the school (hasn’t change since last year), the discipline policies (haven’t changed since last year), the various new (not really) services that are offered to staff and students to help students achieve better scores on AIMS and other standard tests.  It’s computer training (where the computers don’t work) and BBP training (same video as last year) and making sure everyone has their schedules and knows when all the other meetings throughout the year are.  Then it’s department time, making sure you’re aligned with other teachers who teach the same subject in your department, getting the department goals from the department head, and discussing (arguing) over the merits of a point based grade or a weighted grade.  This leaves me exactly 2 hours during Freshman orientation (cause I don’t teach Freshman) and 3 hours before students fill the too many desks of my classroom to prepare my room, make copies, tweak any first day things I need to tweak, fix my pre- and post- tests, making sure I have the correct pre- and post- tests, and going over my rooster to ensure that all the students have met the prerequisites for the class.


For some teachers, there’s also a bit of anxiety involved in first day shenanigans.  Will the kids behave?  Will I have any huge behavior problems?  Will my lessons work and be effective?  Will I meet my goal?  Will I have enough time to cover all of the material that I need to cover in a semester?

But it’s not all worries and problems.  I am very relieved to be back at work.  For one thing, I get a paycheck again (that’s right I have summer’s off and don’t get paid for them.  Most public school teachers are only paid for 184-190 days).  Seeing some money coming in makes me happy.  Of course I’m not teaching for the money.  No one teaches for the money.  I’m teaching because I truly enjoy the profession.  I enjoy the kids (yes, even the pains in the you-know-what), I enjoy my subjects, and I enjoy spreading science knowledge to the next group (really, I do).

So here’s to the 2013-2014 school year.  It’ll be difficult (I’m re-writing two classes…again).  It’ll be fun (new labs always make me happy).  It’ll be long days and longer nights of planning and writing and grading.

Bring it!

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