Teacher to Teacher
by Colleen McClary | 01.7.16
Colleen McClary is an art teacher at College View Middle School in Owensboro, Ky.
What does your First 30 Seconds—the routine you establish in those crucial, tone-setting first moments of class or the school day—look like? Why did you settle on this routine? What impact has the First 30 Seconds had on your students?
The First 30 Seconds is vital to the environment and relationship between myself and my students. I try to capture their attention with a welcoming smile, whether that smile happens in the hallway as I greet them or once the bell rings and we get started with the day’s purpose. It is important to me that the students know I am happy to be at my job. I want them to know I am happy to see them in our school.
I once happened to walk down the hall of a school where I heard several different teachers saying to the students, “You’re going to need this information when you grow up!” or “You’re going to need to know this when you get to high school!” In my head I thought, “Oh, my gosh! If I was a student, I would get tired of hearing this preached.” I decided at that time it was very important how my students entered the art room and how I presented myself.
I think it is important to accept each child as they are when they come in the room. If they are mad or happy, I need to accept them. They are bringing with them only what they know—what they have perceived through their eyes and ears. I don’t try to change them. I want to work with [students] so they know their perspective is what makes them unique. Today, every day, we can work with that uniqueness to make great art. Oh lucky us!