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It’s a reality of teaching in a high-need school that many if not most of your students will suffer some backsliding over the summer time. Studies show that students regress around 2 months in reading and 2-3 months in math. The effects are especially pronounced in lower socioeconomic communities and among students who are English language learners. So, suffice it to say, the first day of school is always a little interesting/overwhelming/daunting at schools like mine.

But after Wednesday, I have to confess that students are not the only ones who backslide during the dog days of summer. While my students may have suffered learning loss from an extended period undoubtedly spent playing video games, watching cartoons, and visiting water parks, I felt equally dumbed down by “teaching loss.” While the students and I shared some poetry, created our class rules, and played a few icebreaker games, I still have to say I felt completely … off on Wednesday.

It’s hard to find your rhythm after two months of free concerts, beer gardens, and beach trips. The first day is also just generally tricky, because the essential lessons based around rules, routines and procedures don’t align with the usual flow of a workshop model-based day. Excuses aside, I’m anxious to overcome the summer rustiness that slowed down my teaching this week. In the meantime recognizing my own backsliding might force me to stop complaining about the kids’.

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.

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