blue engine


It was a whirlwind first week of school.  I received a job offer, attended the first Institute Day, and had the first day of school all within 7 days!!  I was learning on the job daily routines, curriculum, meeting the students and observing their strengths and weaknesses, and building relationships with both staff and students.  Teaching first graders, everything was new and exciting, and it was impressive how much they remembered from Kindergarten.  Things were crazy at times for everyone, but slowly routines were established.


As an introductory activity on the first day of school, students were read aloud The Little Engine That Could.  The part that was emphasized and stuck with the students was that most of the engines wouldn’t stop to help the toys and dolls, but the Blue Engine did.  He wasn’t sure if he could make it up the mountain, but he figured he would try.  He repeated, “I think I can. I think I can” as he chugged up the mountain and finally he succeeded!


“I think I can.  I think I can”.  What a great motto for the new school year.  It is okay if something is hard, it is okay if you don’t get it right away, what’s most important is you need to try.  I used this metaphor throughout the first day of school when students were then drawing a picture and writing a sentence about their favorite part of the story.  I was often asked, “How do you spell ________”?  My response was to be like the Blue Engine and sound it out.  Listen to the sounds you hear and write them down.  All we’re asking is for you to try and do your best.


The first few weeks of school are filled with many activities-some reviewing and refreshing old concepts and others introducing new skills.  As things become more challenging for some or all students, it is important to remind them to be like the Blue Engine and try.  As long as they think they can, students will continue chugging their way up the mountain and eventually be successful.  I know I will need to continually try to be successful at my job to help all students feel supported and learn.  I may need to come up with many different activities or reminders for students with certain behavioral or academic challenges, but I will not give up and will use all my resources to help me come up with new ideas or possible solutions.  Everyone needs to be determined, passionate, and dedicated so both students and teachers are successful learners.


Here’s to a great school year!