This was the third time I read The First Days of School by Harry Wong and each time, I have had a different perspective and more classroom experience. I believe Wong guides the reader through several concepts that are important to successful teaching, but also believe that he falls short in key areas. In a way, his text binds the reader to his philosophy of structure and instills a mindset of anxiety and fear. Yes, he successfully conveys the necessity of preparedness and positive attitude, but he also led me to feel that if I did not follow every step of the three hundred plus page book, my first day and entire school year would be an exhausting failure. I felt overwhelmed by the idea of not saying the right thing or forgetting a procedure.
In his book The First Days of School, Harry Wong writes “if you do not structure your classroom, your classroom will structure you.” While the context of his comment is introductory procedures, it begs the question of how much must be structured on the first day.
What does it mean to be a team? This was the question that my fifth graders were posed with as we began to discuss collaboration in the classroom. Many of the students responses reflected an awareness of leadership, respect, encouragement, and comradery. Post- discussion, the students had the opportunity to practice being part of a team (and one with the very important task... Save Fred!)