Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A New Start, Once Again

The midnight sun is quickly fading, and the rush to enjoy every sunny day has set in...

At the end of the first day of school, I am usually one of two things: excited or overwhelmed. Some years the details all come together to create a place where the students have a seat, I have a plan, and we can talk about the upcoming year. Other years I feel scattered and unorganized, forgetting to what I have said from period to period, and failing to share some details while repeating myself elsewhere. This is the curse of secondary education I suppose: in teaching the same class more than once, you have to keep track of the details.

Today was not perfect, but I felt like it was close. Sure, there was the locker combination that was mis-entered and had to be researched, the girl I had on my team all of track last season yet still mispronounced her name, the boy who is in my let's-read-for-fun elective class that proclaimed he doesn't like reading, but the wins countered the losses and at the end of the day I couldn't help but revel in my neatly written schedule on the board that hasn't yet been scratched through by some student who rubs too close to the wipe-off board with his sweatshirt.

There is something clean and fresh and new about the first day of school that can't be replicated on any other day.

While the students were new to the building today, I have been here for several days now. I have spent quite a bit of time assigning locks to lockers, proofreading syllabi (mine and others), typing up seating charts and perusing a new curriculum guide. I have proven I know how to use an epi pen and an inhaler, printed off medical alerts for the necessary students, reprinted rosters as they are updated, hung posters, created posters, and updated necessary lists with student preference: "My name is Alanna, but I go by Liza." Right.

This morning I told many of my classes the story of my morning, which included a stop at the coffee shop where one of my sisters works. As we exchanged details about the day, one of her regular customers walked up, whom she introduced to me as Robert. Once this older man discovered it was my first day of school, he wanted to know what I liked about teaching. I feel like it's important to share with the students why I chose--and would still choose--my profession. Some days I have students that look at me with a confused look as if to ask, "And why would you ever want to be here by choice?" There are a lot of days of teaching that are hard and long, but also a lot of details that make this profession enjoyable. At the end of the day though, when a ten second answer is all a fellow customer really wants to hear, I tend to keep it simple: I love to hear what they think.

There's a small window between being a child and being an adult when teens haven't quite figured out what people want or expect to hear, that or they don't feel compelled to give it. And that makes teaching teenagers an endless adventure. There are times for lessons in learning what is appropriate or respectful or timely, but there are also times when I like to have conversations about the concerns they have about the world they live in, concerns that haven't yet been filed into a folder titled "That's Just The Way Life Is". 

So here is to a year of adventures in the small window of honesty, brutal, shocking, and sincere. Day one is looking mighty fine.


Another first day of school post here

1 comment:

  1. Wait. He doesn't like to read and he chose to be in the read for fun class?!? What I wouldn't give for an hour a day just to read for fun!

    Glad their were a few wins to outweight that little moron though! ;)

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