Thursday, September 6, 2007

School bells~

There is nothing like the first day of school to pump you up and exhaust you. I'm both excited about the 179 days remaining in the school year, and ready to go to bed as soon as I get home.

I got up today at 5:45, my rise-and-shine time on school days. Not shine in the traditional sense. More like rise and shower-- dully. I stood under the spray in a semi-comatose state.

I dressed, grabbed a banana, a tomato from the garden, some nonfat plain yogurt and a box of tea bags and stuffed them into my bag. I made sure I had my cell phone, and left the house, stepping over the morning paper.

The morning sky is worth getting up early for, although I never do unless I have to. Still, its beauty eased the shock of being awake hours before normal wake up time.

I turned on the car heater for my feet, which are in sandals. I opened the moon roof for the rest of me, which is in menopause. On the way home, I'll use the AC, I know. The seasons are fighting for supremacy.

The first day of school is really about the kids, my 25 that I will get to know and love during the next ten months. They are excited, but anxious.This is a new school for them.

This I know: they will like me, but mostly they want me to like them. And I will. I do already.

I can already tell who the artists are; it's apparent by the care they take on their locker decorations. The athletes move about the room with grace, and the musicians hold invisible drumsticks and tap to an inaudible beat.

There is a girl that has obvious leadership skills, who might be class president in high school if she stays on the right side of the law. She has a presence that is compelling and I need to make sure it stays positive this year.

I tell another girl, "You need to relax and let me be the teacher." She has her mind made up and even on this first day challenges what I ask of her.

I tell two boys that the "men's" room is for grown up teacher men, and that next time they have to use the boy's room.

I sent several home with their padlocks to practice the combination, because they couldn't quite open it two times in a row without help. The locks go on their lockers. They've never had lockers before, and most have never opened a padlock; considerable time is consumed getting 25 ten year-olds to follow the right-left past the first number- then right sequence.

There was nothing remotely academic about today. It was a day of setting the stage for a good year, a day of laying the foundation for what will follow, a day of easing my students into the year.

We all need this buffer zone before the rubber meets the road.


Rhea said...

I love hearing a teacher who is enthusiastic about the first day of school.

rain said...

10 year olds - sounds like Grade 5. My son is in Grade 4 this year, and I hope his teacher sees his possibilities as well as you see them for your students. Lovely post. Looking forward to hearing the stories once the rubber does hit the road!

Janice Thomson said...

I can imagine it must be exciting to get to know your students and to watch these precious little people grow with knowledge. Teachers play such an important part in their lives. Glad you are off to a great start Ruth.

sc morgan said...

See, I knew there would be essays about school. This was very evocative of the "first day" feeling of school. You took me back to my own feelings at about that age. Nicely done. I also enjoyed the vision of you getting ready to head out the door. This was priceless: "…my feet, which are in sandals. I opened the moon roof for the rest of me, which is in menopause." I had to laugh at that!

Dawn said...

I always like a bit of insider information and getting inside of a teacher's mind while she's in her element is fascinating. Thanks. Hope the rest of the week went well, too.


Heather said...

ha! the locks on the lockers thing is too funny. have a great year!

Ruth D~ said...

Rhea~ See hoe enthusiastic I am in dead winter when the kids have been indoors for weeks. :>)

Rain~ I hope you'll post on your son as well.

Janice~ Thanks. It's a good profession for me.

Sarah~ You must identify. :>)

Dawn~ I like the insights you've given about your library position.

Heather~ It's funny for a while, the locker thing, then I get sick of doing it for them and they learn the hard way.

Josie said...

Ruth, what a wonderful post to see it from a teacher's point of view. My little munchkin, Freddie, is in his first year of middle school. On his first day, he was terrified and he e-mailed me. By the end of the week he was making friends, and enjoying school, and he already loves his teacher. He's in French immersion, and he says the kids are already having conversations in French.

You teachers do a wonderful, wonderful job!