This year, educators are navigating new and unfamiliar territory in different schools, grades, and situations. Worrying about the unknown is completely normal, but there’s no need to as we’ve got you covered with coveted advice from four veteran educators who have been in your shoes. Read on to hear what they had to say about surviving the first few weeks of school!  

Remember, Relationships are Key

Amanda Hunt, a Texas-based Middle School Librarian of The Next Gen Librarian, understands how important relationship building is. “Relationships are key,” Amanda shared. “Put that at the forefront of your mind before content, state testing, and other daily obligations. That stuff will come after you have a strong relationship with your students.” 

Heather Plachon of The Primary Party echoed those sentiments by sharing, “It’s okay to take it slow and build relationships and expectations during that first week. Content will always be there for you to cover, but taking time at the start of the year to get to know your students will help you best serve them throughout the year!”

Need some inspiration for the best ways to start building strong relationships with your students? Check out our top 5 get-to-know -me activities for middle school to get the ball rolling!

Put the Power in Your Students’ Hands

We’ve found great success in our Learning Games by allowing students to be the boss. Rebekah Poe, a special education educator and the personality behind Lessons and Lattes, finds success in this model as well. “Let your students help come up with the rules and expectations for the classroom. When students have a say, they also have an increased sense of ownership and responsibility. Allow your students to make suggestions for how they think a classroom can run the most smoothly by asking them what a classroom should look, sound, and feel like. Rules that state what a student SHOULD do as opposed to should NOT do lets the student know exactly what is expected of them, giving them a greater understanding and awareness of their behavior.”

We love this advice!

Take Your time and Have FUN

Heather Planchon also shared to give yourself grace in this new period of learning for both yourself and your students. “It’s okay not to do it all in the first week. Give yourself time and grace as you navigate a new year.”

John Rodney of Teacher to Teacher shared the importance of tying it all together. “Prioritize relationship-building activities into the curriculum. Those relationships will improve the learning taking place in the classroom and make it so much more fun.”

We wish you a safe, joyful, successful, and FUN start to your school year. We meant when we said last year that we have your back, and that statement still stands. We will continue to remain free for this 2022-2023 school year. 

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If you want 1:1 onboarding training, have questions about how to mobilize the Million Words Read Challenge in your class, or anything in-between – we’re here for you. 


Onward Educators!

The Read to Lead Team & Community

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Read to Lead uses the power of game-based learning to empower middle school students to build literacy, life, and career skills. Teachers can sign up for a free account to get started!