I was hired after the school year had started. I knew this was the job I wanted, but figured it would be a few more years before it opened. The teacher I replaced had been there for awhile, and his choice to move on left the alternative ed program a bit shell shocked. It took a few days for any of the kids to talk to me, and really the remainder of that year before they trusted me. It was a big change for them to go from a known football player looking male teacher to little old me; frankly, it was a big change for me to get back to teaching after 7 years as a professional mom, so fine by me if it took awhile for us all to get acclimated.
That next year found everyone more comfortable with each other, and somehow or another I started class with something like "Ok, Sunshines, time to get to work". It stuck. I started to refer to the sunnies at home to differentiate between my students and my children. This group of (mostly) rough and tumble disconnected high school boys liked being called Sunshines. They started to refer to themselves as such. Without setting out to do so, I created a cool kids club, complete with a name and an identity.
This blog is a way for me to reflect on my classroom practice, and maybe figure out how I created that club so that someone else can do the same thing in their own school.