Thursday, September 6, 2007
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.