Is it weird to say T.G.I.F if I've only been back at school for one day?
What if I added that I'd been working all week, for 10-12 hours per day, and yesterday was just the first day to have kids in my class...would that make it better?
Regardless...Thank Goodness it's Friday!!!
And I only say that because I'm exhausted...not because yesterday was a bad day. In fact, it was the complete opposite. It was a FANTASTIC day!
After finishing up my blog, I hustled inside to get the kids all ready. Lunch boxes were prepared, outfits were checked, hair was did. And all of the kids looked cute as buttons for their first day. I even snapped pictures to share...
Here's my beautiful Peanut, now an 8th grader...
My handsome Butter, now a 7th grader...
And my cutie patootie, Jelly...a kindergartener with swag...
And, once again, THIS is why I have the best freakin' job on the planet!
Got to love the purple crocs with that green dress, right? Those just happen to be her two most favorite colors, and she was determined to wear both on her first day. I think she pulled it off.
When we arrived at school, it was all hands on deck to make sure kids were greeted and directed in to the right places. I stood outside with Jelly waiting for her bus that takes her up to the primary school. It was also a great time to see some of my kiddos from last year and my summer school kids.
Jelly was a total rockstar. She didn't look nervous or upset about getting on the bus.. in fact, she was so excited she almost forgot to tell me goodbye.
Once she was on the bus, I went back inside to continue my rounds of saying hi to all the kiddos from school. I walked around the cafeteria and then made my way in to the gym where I was met with constant hugs and high-fives. I felt that rush of adrenaline that reminded me why I love the first day of school so much. The beginning of a new chapter, moving on...starting over.
Now that I have a year under my belt, I don't have to worry about those weird looks from kids who have no idea who I am. I don't have to feel shy or awkward about walking around and making eye contact with kids. Now it's all hugs and smiles and excitement.
I have a bit of history, now. Kids know me. Kids are happy to see me. And that's a feeling that could never get old.
The principal came in to the gym to make her welcome, and give the announcements and introductions of new teachers. It took me back to this time last year. I was one of those people. I saw the same nerves and anticipation in their eyes that I felt. But, I also knew how they'd feel this time next year.
I finally got my class and we made our way to the classroom. The kids all sat down, and it was complete silence. Nobody said a word. They look terrified or at least a little nervous. I got started by giving my speech. "How many of you have heard rumors or think that I'm a mean teacher?" Silence. I encouraged them to be honest...I wanted honesty and would hold no bad feelings. A few hands started to go up...then a few more...until finally almost all of the hands were in the air.
I then asked "How many of you think that I might have heard some rumors about you from your teacher last year about how much you talk or get in to trouble or don't do your work?" Didn't need any encouragement to see several hands raised in the air.
So, I said "OK, if I promise to forget everything any teacher has said to me about any of you, will you promise to try and forget what you've heard about me? If I tell you that it doesn't matter to me what trouble you got in to last year, or how much trouble you had finishing work, or how many times you had to go and see the principal...does that make you feel better?" A few nods and words of appreciation to that. "OK then. Don't let anyone try and tell you how you should feel. How about you give me a chance and decide for yourself?" A few smiles, some relaxation in the shoulders...and the thick tension in the room seemed to evaporate almost instantly.
And that was that.
I spent the entire morning talking. Rules. Expectations. Sorting supplies. Discipline. Rewards. And so on and so on. I tried to make it as upbeat as possible, and by lunch time the kids had come out of their shells a little and had moved from silence to whispering and a few giggles.
After lunch and recess and specials, I decided that it was time to play some ice-breaker games. The kids had a questionnaire all about me. They had to guess information like my middle name, how many kids I had, how many siblings, where I was born, favorite music, foods, etc. They had to work as tables to come up with an answer they thought it was. It was a lot of fun to hear some of the things the kids thought. They really seemed to enjoy the challenge, and hearing the actual answers. It was fascinating to them that I was born in London, England. They were fascinated that I lived in Arkansas. They were fascinated with the fact that I had 5 brothers and sisters. And it, of course, encouraged them to share information about themselves.
Our whole afternoon was spent like that. By the time it was time to get ready to head out for the day, the mood in the room was the complete opposite of when it started. The kids were laughing and talking and excited to return the next day.
It's amazing how quickly a teacher can fall in love with their class. Kinda like being a parent. You think that once you have one child, you can never love the other children in the same way. But, of course, whether you have one child or ten children.. you love them all just as much as the next. The same is to be said for a teacher and her class.
As a first year teacher last year, I never thought I would love another class as much as I loved them. But, in a matter of one day, I'm so excited about my new class. Already loving some of their personalities and ready to tackle some of the challenges that some of them bring. It doesn't mean I love my old class any less, but it just goes to show how much love is available in one heart.
I am so pumped and excited for today...exhausted? Yes. But I know that today will be even better than yesterday.