Wednesday, August 13, 2014

the first day of school

If we still lived in Louisville and if I were still teaching, today would be the day on which I would welcome 150 or so new students into my classroom -into my life. Today I would be greeting the freshman as they make their big entrance into high school. Today I would be introducing them to me and my room, telling them what to expect as we journey through their freshman year together. I would be giving them hints at some of the greatest works of literature and ones that we would get to read together. I would be sharing bits on how we would write and write until we thought our brains were blank and void of anything to write -yet, there would still be something deep in there, hiding, waiting to come out, waiting to be written.

If I were teaching this year I would see my first class of kids walking around the halls as seniors, I would see my kids filling out college applications, working on their Senior Project, planning for their senior prom, planning for their future -college? technical school? a job in town? And at the end of the year I would see my kids donning caps and gowns and accepting their high school diploma, a certificate indicating the end of one journey and the beginning of a new one. A new journey that would lead them into adulthood. 

If I were teaching this year fresh new faces would quietly bob into my room, find a seat, and look at me in anticipation. Their eyes would try and read me, try and figure out who I am, what I am like, what I would demand of them, and let's be honest -what they could get away with. These new faces would hold hopes and dreams, fears and apathy. These faces would become my kids. And I would grow to love and appreciate them for who they are. And I would pray for them, each and every one. Some more than others. Some for behavior issues, some for their education, some for their home life. But I would pray for all of them. And I would pray that I could be the teacher they needed. And I would pray that they would look forward to coming into my room, at least a little bit, but that they would always feel safe in my room regardless of how much they liked English or how strong their distaste for English and school in general was. 

If I were teaching this year I would stop at the grocery store on the way home one afternoon and stock up on notebooks, pencils, paper, and notecards for my kids to use throughout the year. I would buy bags of candy at the end of each holiday to add to my stock pile. I would find new books to add to my little classroom library collection. 

If I were teaching this year I would be prepared [unlike my first year]. I would have two years behind me and I would have plans revised and finished. I would have new activities ready. I would have experience to use in my plans and in my room. I would know what was to come and what I was doing. 

If I were teaching this year the bells would ring and I would welcome students into my room. I would say goodbye to them when the bell rang 55 some minutes later. I would mark my days by the bells. I would plan what I was going to do and when. I would plan how much water I could drink based on when my planning period and lunch were. I would enjoy being in my classroom. 

As this school year is starting and I am not at school where bells and hormonal teenagers rule, I can't help but get a little nostalgic and teary-eyed. I know my days as a teacher were hard and the days were long. I know that each day I worked from an hour before that first bell rang when the students begrudgingly filled the halls to several hours after the last bell rang and the halls were emptied. I poured my heart and soul into my kids and my classroom. I cried. I laughed. I read. I worked. I graded paper after paper. 

I never expected to feel so sad on the first day of school, when I wasn't  there -missing out on the party. I never thought I would think back on my days in the classroom and truly miss everything about it [yes, everything -except for KTIP that is]. But I guess that means I truly LOVE teaching [even though there were rough patches]. I am thankful to be able to spend my days at home with Emerson, he is a joy and I know these first few years are fleeting and few. But oh, how I miss my school, my room, my kids, and meeting my new kids on this first day of school. 

Are any of you teachers? Do you enjoy the first day of school and all of the fun that is had? Have you had a baby [or a few] and chosen to stay home or go back to school? What lead you to make the decision you did? 

And for any of you teachers out there: Happy First Day of School! [or soon to be or belated!]


kelseylynae said...

Oh Hannah-- you know my heart is TOTALLY with you in this post. [And I may steal this idea? Is that okay?] It is so very hard. My aunt [a former teacher, turned stay at home mom, turned back teacher] once sent me a text on the first day of school that I would not be returning and she wished me a "gentle day." I thought that was perfect. When you know you are a good teacher, and that you are called to be a teacher, it's hard. Especially when you know you are a good mom, and that you are called to a stay at home mom for this season.

Trust that "your kids" are with who they need to be with right now. And trust that your future students will fit you perfectly.

And I will email you about the questions you sent soon. [It made sense :)]

Go buy new school supplies anyway-- I've learned it takes the sting off a bit ;) And though it still stings when those first school buses go by each year, each year HAS gotten easier. And I know you know this-- but you're still a teacher. ;)

Amanda Klein said...

Awww, I so feel you! This is my second year of seeing the start of school and not having a classroom (after eight years in elementary education). It gets easier! And being able to see every little change in my sweet baby, and being the one to teach and show him everything... priceless!