‘You’re nervous’: Lethbridge educators prepare for first day of school

‘You’re nervous’: Educators prepare for first day of school
It's almost that time of year again, closing in on the first day of school. Students and parents are picking up school supplies while teachers are using this time to make sure they're ready to welcome students again. Matt Battochio reports.

The school year is just days away from starting in Lethbridge and teachers are using the prep time they have left to make sure they give their students the best chance to be successful.

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“You spend [the last] two, three weeks getting ready for basically one day,” teacher Erin Beekman said.

The Coalbanks Elementary School learning support teacher has been teaching for the past 12 years. Before she starts year No. 13, Beekman took part in a professional development seminar at Lethbridge School District No. 51. She believes by helping herself, she’s supporting her students in their learning.

“What I’m finding more and more is that if the teachers can be learning new things, then their engagement has increased significantly and that’s what’s going to happen to the students in their classrooms, is their engagement is also going to increase. The interest is much higher,” Beekman said.

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Beekman’s workshop focused on writing instruction at the elementary school level. It’s the kind of professional development Lethbridge School District literacy lead teacher Bev Smith thinks is incredibly important.

“All of the evidence in educational research shows that teachers need time to learn professionally,” Smith said. “They also need the space to be able to try things and make mistakes and know that it’s OK.”

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The first day of school is known to cause some anxiousness for some students, but they’re not alone in that feeling.

“The teachers are also nervous. It seems that every teacher I talk to, you’re nervous. Even the teachers that have been doing it for 30 years,” Beekman said. “The first day of school, they’re excited and they’re a little nervous and they want it to go well. It’s a big show — you want it to go well.”

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Lethbridge classrooms open their doors on Sept. 4.