University of Calgary

Faculty of Education grad can’t wait for first day of school

UToday HomeAugust 30, 2013

Thomas Story, BEd’13, says the best advice he’s received is to relax, be himself, and have fun in the classroom. Photo by Riley BrandtThomas Story, BEd’13, says the best advice he’s received is to relax, be himself, and have fun in the classroom. Photo by Riley BrandtIn just a few short days, thousands of children will be heading to the city’s schools. For some, it’s a brand new experience. For others, it will be the first day at a new school.

This year also marks a personal milestone for Thomas Story. As a 2013 graduate of the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Education, Story has been in many classrooms over the years, honing his skills as a teacher during practicums. On Sept. 3, he enters his own Grade 4 classroom for the very first time.

“I'm feeling a wide range of emotions — excited, hopeful, and nervous are probably the three dominant ones,” says Story. “It's kind of the same feeling as being a student on the first day, except that instead of hoping the teachers will like me and that the classes are interesting, I'm hoping the students accept me and that the classes are interesting.”

Story says the practica he experienced during his studies have guided him towards next week. “Having to go into at least four different classrooms and introduce myself as the ‘new guy’ in the room has shown me that it is possible, and that kids are very accepting and understanding.  

“They’ll likely be just as nervous as me, so the best advice I’ve received is to relax and just be myself,” he says. “I’ve also learned to have fun in the classroom, which is a big part of my teaching philosophy. If you can have fun with your kids, the days will go better for everybody.”

Much of Story’s prep work involves making sure he’s comfortable with the material, setting up his classroom, and familiarizing himself with the policies and procedures of Masters Academy, where he’ll be teaching. And he’s giving serious thought to that first day.

“That very first minute of the first day of school is so important in setting the tone for the school year and having time to get to speak to the students and have them speak to me.”

The best advice he’s received? “Get a good night's sleep and eat something for breakfast. You also have to be flexible, because something is going to go differently than you had planned and you just have to roll with it.

“I can’t wait.”

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