The long lazy days of summer had come to an end. No more playing in the pool or running through the sprinkler with your brothers. No more long stays with the grandparents who spoiled you with ice cream sundaes and miniature golf. Time had slowly passed and now you find yourself staring at the ceiling in a dark room waiting for mom to come wake you.
I could never get to sleep the night before the first day of school but God knows I tried. Some years I would decide to go with it and just stay awake. I tried talking to my twin brother with whom I shared a room but his breathing told me that falling asleep was not an issue for him. I might go downstairs for a drink or look out my bedroom window to where the street lamp was shining on the pavement, what vivid memories I have of doing that.
All is quiet. The world is asleep. Everyone except me. In the darkness I'd glance over at my fancy new red, white and blue polyester button up shirt longing to slip it on. How cool was I going to look? Spiffy and dashing to be sure. (It's funny how time can alter one's perspective.)
The minutes pass, as do the days and the years and the decades. I am no longer a child but the familiar anticipation of the first day of school has stayed with me. Only now instead of being a student and wondering what my teacher will be like, I am a teacher wondering about my students.
I know in some schools teachers are given a class list well before the first day of school. These teachers have their rooms set up with children's names labeled on cubbies and desks. The more enterprising teachers may have sent out welcome letters introducing themselves to the kids and their parents. The really
There is always that bit of wondering about the dynamic of the classroom, student personalities and interests and where the journey of the new school year will lead. I always have a bit of hesitation with a new class as well. In our school all of the teachers meet the students in the cafeteria for breakfast. We sit with them as they eat and share stories about our summer. Most of my incoming first grade students I know already because I pop into the kindergarten classrooms quite often during the year. But, knowing a child and having them as a student are two vastly different things.
I find myself gravitating towards past students who are jumping all over me vying for my attention while others continue to come over in a steady stream. I can't resist them. Every year I want to gather up last years class and bring them up to the classroom. This is when teaching is tough. The kids grow up and move on. I get attached. Gratefully, there are others who also need to be taught.
Well, I have my new clothes and my hair is freshly cut. The students arrive next Tuesday so on Monday night you know where I will be...staring at the clock, listening to the train whistle in the distance and wondering when my alarm will go off so I can pop out of bed. Until then there is work to be done. This Thursday and Friday is the time for cleaning out and setting up (in addition to endless meetings). I love this part too. As the song from The Sound of Music goes "I must have done something good". Yippee!