This is a note for myself. Feel free to skip it or read and offer any suggestions you might have.
A note to Natalie from Natalie.
1.) Get the students ready for lunch LONG before you think you need to. The past two days have been hectic at lunch time and it could have been avoided if you'd been prepared.
2.) Build in more bathroom breaks and remind the students to go when you're not at carpet time. They have to go to the bathroom a lot more than you realize at the beginning of the year. They will learn that there are times during the day when they can go, but be patient at the beginning.
3.) When you have 15 boys and 9 girls, read more gross stories. Boys do not like mushy stories and princess songs. Invest in lots of gross animal stories, such as "I Know an Old Teacher." They could not care less about "The Kissing Hand."
4.) On the topic is having 15 boys, plan for lots of activities to let their energy out. There are so many benefits of having so many boys: not as much whining, almost no tattling. On the other hand, having so many boys is a challenge!
5.) You've never considered yourself a girly kind of teacher, but in the past two days, it's become obvious that you leaned more toward teaching the girls. You haven't disadvantaged the boys in the last 10 classes...you are just more aware of your own faults now. Take it and learn from it.
6.) Slow down some. Spend even more time teaching and training the routines and procedures in the classroom. Yesterday, that's what you did and the kids benefited from it. Today, you rushed things a little and the result was their restlessness.
7.) There is nothing...NOTHING...more important that your rest at the beginning of the year. Today you saw what happens when you are tired and can't be 100% engaged with the children. Next month, that will be fine. Your students will be trained. Today, that was not okay. Even though you gave 90% all day, your kids fed off your exhaustion. Fake it (more) if you don't have it.
8.) Do not give the students one moment to gain control in the classroom. It's exhausting to micromanage every moment of the day the first few weeks, but it's even more exhausting to have to reclaim control when you've allowed it to slip away. Don't allow the children to talk so loud that they can't hear you when you need their attention. Stay on them until they are trained.
9.) Even though you may get bored saying the same thing repeatedly, they need to practice, practice, practice your expectations. Don't talk when they don't do it right. STOP. Do it again. And again. And again. Until they do it perfectly.
10.) Teach the children how to tuck their shirts in immediately. Dress code issues can be so time consuming. It'll take a while to work on the shoe tying, but shirts can be done immediately.
11.) Keep a little journal of the things you do differently this year in case you ever have another year with so many boys or just discover ideas about how to reach the boys more effectively. This is a great year for you to learn and grow as a teacher. Make it fun for everyone!
12.) You really do not dislike the first few weeks of school. The reward is not immediate, but it does come and it is sweet.
Yes, they are all this young and immature when they come to kindergarten. Yes, they will mature and grow up. Yes, you can do it. Yes, you can make it another few hours. Yes, it's okay to feel GOOD when they leave.