First-day jitters for teachers, too

Krystle Wagner • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:43 AM

Although Nick Tejchma spent the day in front of a class, he still felt a little uneasy.

“I was a little nervous," said Tejchma, a new first-grade teacher at Lake Hills Elementary School in Spring Lake Township. "At the same time, my excitement overruled my nerves.”

To help his young 20-student class overcome their own jitters, Tejchma read them a book describing a person’s morning getting ready for their first day. While they covered the typical classroom procedures and rules, the class also took time to share what they did during their summer vacation.

As he watched his class enjoy their afternoon recess, Tejchma reflected on the day.

“It’s going awesome,” he said.

To see the photos of first day of school for area children, as snapped by their parents, click here.

Although Jen Greene — a second-grade teacher at Holmes Elementary School in Spring Lake — has worked in education for about 18 years, she said she still feels the butterflies on the first day back.

“We get nervous just like the kids do,” she said.

After learning about school rules, Greene said her class participated in team-building exercises.

She said she would ask a question and the students would write the answer on their whiteboards. The students would then look at everyone’s responses.

Becky Clauss’ second-grade class played a similar game. The Holmes Elementary School teacher picked questions out of a bag and the students discussed the answer with their neighbors. A few of her questions involved asking if they had a hard time sleeping Monday night and if they had a hard time waking up for school.

Clauss said the first day also included giving them snippets of what to expect in the upcoming year, such as reading to themselves.

“They are doing great,” said Clauss, who has taught school for about 22 years.

Tuesday was Mathew Keller's first day as a fourth-grade teacher at Holmes Elementary School. shared with his students a way to

“I love being around kids,” said Keller, who has taught for several years at other schools.

Keller said he’s taking team-building advice this year from the book “The Best Year Ever!” by Bill Cecil.

On Tuesday, he introduced his 24 students to the idea of a coin they will hang onto all year, reminding them of three important things — “Attendance, Attitude, Effort” — which are inscribed on one side of the coin. Once the students have thought about the idea overnight and talked to their parents, Keller said he would give each of his students one coin.

Throughout the year, he will randomly ask them to present their coin. If they do, they can earn a special treat like watching a quick video or playing a game.

With a busy school year ahead, Keller said he’s happy being in front of the classroom.

“I’m excited to be at school,” he said.

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