An indication that the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is coming to a close is when you see packs of motorcycles heading east on Interstate 90 in South Dakota. I actually just witnessed that scenario the other day while driving the car to Sioux Falls. I thought to myself “huh, they are all going the wrong way…must be over.”
Sturgis, South Dakota, with a measly population of 6,600, grows exponentially usually the first week in August, sometimes topping 500,000 people. Individuals from all walks of life ride their bikes out to Sturgis to check out the festivities. (Some people haul their bikes out on trailers then ride when they get there…does that count?). 😉 I know a family from the Sturgis area that rents their home out to a doctor from New York during the week of the bike rally and this family gets an astronomical amount of money for that week. Wow…things that make you go ‘hmmm.’ 🙂
Have you ever been to Sturgis? I have. Just passed through so I can say I’ve been there. That brief time was enough for me, though. Maybe you are one who stays for the whole week. If you are that person, then you know you are ‘revved’ up to get to Sturgis and you go ‘full throttle ahead’ to get there.
Doesn’t that paint a picture of what the beginning of the school year is like? Whether you are a teacher or a principal, aren’t you ‘revved up’ to get started and you go “full throttle ahead’ to get ready for the school year? I know I do. Every year is that way for me. A new beginning is always exciting and I actually enjoy the preparation.
Below are some ways that will rev you up to get your new school year going full throttle ahead:
- Personal Space – Just like your motorcycle is your personal space, how will you arrange and organize your personal space at school? How will you polish and shine what is yours to make it stand out above all others? Where would you like your desk? Where would you like your materials? Others’ materials? What do you want on your walls? How about your space on the computer? Email all ready to go? How about your class/school webpage? Are you a blogger? Would you like to start? Go to wordpress.com to learn more.
- Surroundings Awareness – Becoming familiar with the best route to take when traveling to Sturgis was a must. Same goes for school. Get familiar with your building. Where is the copy machine? Do you have a code for it? Where are materials located such as construction paper? Become best friends with the school office administrator, the custodians, the cooks. Does the maintenance crew want your chairs up when they sweep your classroom? How do you ask for help when a repair is needed? Will the cooks allow you to use any of the kitchen equipment for a special project? Do they expect you to help in the lunch room?
- Leadership Plan – Did you travel to Sturgis with a group? Were you in charge of the trip? Transfer that thought over to school. How will you manage your time? How will you prioritize? Do you know what to do in case of a crisis such as a tornado drill or a sudden death? Is your plan ready to go? Continue to add to your plan as the year progresses. There’s a good chance you will be initiated by fire.
- First Day Jitters – Once you arrived in Sturgis, did you know what you planned to do that first day? What will you do on the first day at school? Will you be nervous? Probably a little. Get a good nights’ sleep if possible. Drink a glass of tart cherry juice before bedtime. Tart cherry juice has melatonin in it to help aid sleep. Eat a good breakfast the first day. A Green Monster Smoothie is delicious and nutritious. See the recipe below. Leave home with a positive attitude. Build relationships. Greet people at the door. Wear a smile. Actively listen to others. Use icebreakers. Check out the link for many many icebreaker ideas. Read First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg. Green Monster Smoothie Recipe: 1 cup spinach, 1 cup frozen kale, 1 cup unsweetened Coconut Milk, 1 scoop of Strawberry Slim Fast Powder, ½ frozen banana sliced, 1 kiwi fruit peeled and diced, a handful of frozen cranberries, 1 tbsp flaxseed meal. Put all ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth. Pour over ice and sip through a straw. Enjoy.
- Expectations – Were there certain expectations that you had before, during, and after being at Sturgis? Now that you are home from your bike rally trip, did you visit with others on how the trip went? At school, what expectations do you have of yourself? Of others? How will you behave? How do you expect others to behave? How will you dress? How do you expect others to dress? Are you a good role model? Do you depict best practices? Become a reflective practitioner. At the end of each day, reflect on what went well, and what needs improvement. What do students expect of YOU, their leader? Watch and listen to find out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K96c-TGnSf4
- Make Connections – From the picture above, it’s easy to see that there were hundreds of thousands of bikes and folks at Sturgis. Connections are easy to make when you surround yourself with that many people. Do the same at school. Connect with the students, the staff, the parents, and anyone else you know who are associated with your school. How can you connect? Get to know people on a personal basis. Remember “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Appreciate others, respect others, show others they matter. Connect with others via Twitter. Join a PLN. Actively participate in live Twitter chats. A few we recommend are #tlap and #nbtchat. Once connections are made, all else will fall into place.
This list is by no means complete. There are many more creative ways to get revved up for the school year. Please add to this list by commenting below. Whether you proudly ride a Harley or lead on a Honda (…or ride a Trek or Schwinn 🙂 ), go full throttle ahead with these ideas. It will make for a great year exponentially. When you are all revved up and ready to go for this school year, please, just keep your hands on the handlebars at ALL times! 🙂 Stay in control…
Have a fun year and enjoy the ride. Let that bike roar.