An elementary-only independent school located in Atlanta, serving children ages three through Sixth Grade since 1951.

Teacher Feature: Casey Leonard

One Chance at a First Impression

By Casey Leonard, Second Grade Assistant Teacher

You only get one first chance to meet your students. One chance to make 21 new faces feel welcome and excited for a new school year. One chance to show them how much you care about who they are and what they will do. One chance to show them it is just as much their classroom as it is ours.

No pressure.

As this new school year approached, I considered how I would make this one and only first impression count. I knew I wanted students to see their names and faces in the classroom to show them how much we value their individuality and give them a sense of ownership over this new learning space, but I wanted to push the boundaries even further. What if they could feel valued and loved even before they walked through the door to meet me?

For the first time, I saw the three blank boards in the hallway as more than a decoration or display of student work. In my mind, these three boards became a way to connect with my students.

At first glance, these boards are a colorful decoration that reflects our superhero classroom theme. However, if you look more closely at the finished, superhero-themed bulletin boards in our hallway (now re-created outside of our classroom’s entrance) you will see that each hero’s paper face resembles one of the unique 21 faces that make up our classroom community. Over the summer, I took some extra time to admire their faces in last year’s yearbook and carefully designed each superhero. I based them on the students’ skin tone, hair color, and their own individual quirks to show my students that I love them for who they are now, and who they will grow to be.

We only get one first chance to connect with a new group of students. We have to make it count.

Teacher Feature: Casey Leonard

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4301 Northside Parkway NW, Atlanta, GA 30327 |
Phone: 404-231-8100 | Fax: 404-231-8111