Monday, August 23, 2010

First Day Jitters

It was with much anticipation and excitement that I arrived at school this morning. Despite my relatively calm nerves the night before, I couldn't help but feel anxious about the fact that this was it...this was my first day of teaching.

Much like I've done for each first day of school in the past, I set out my outfit the night before and made sure I had everything ready to go. I even went into school to prepare my art materials for the next afternoon. I read my book (Ms. Hempel Chronicles by Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum) before going to sleep and then lay in bed wondering about the day ahead. My thoughts sort of went like this..."Am I prepared? Did I plan enough for math? Will the kids like their new classroom? Will they listen to me? Is my lunch ready for tomorrow? Will I have time to eat breakfast? Will it be noisy? Will I have to send anyone to the 'think spot'? How will my art lesson go? Did I prepare enough supplies? Will they get it? Will they be shy or will they talk a lot? Will they like me?"

To my great relief, the first day of school went beautifully! Maybe even better than I had imagined (Of course, I didn't really know what to imagine). My day began outside on the sidewalk greeting excited children and their families as they arrived. Once we'd all arrived we had our morning meeting and Mrs. Johnson read the poem "What's in the Sack" by Shel Silverstein. By the end of the poem everyone was wondering what was in the sack she was she shared the contents which told us interesting things about her. Wednesday it will be my turn to share "What's in the Sack."

During literacy I was amazed to read what wonderful writing the kindergartners were producing and was thrilled to listen to some impressive reading. During math we explored and created designs with pattern blocks. During our shape hunt around the classroom I was impressed by what careful detectives the kids were when finding the sneaky shapes that are "hiding" all around us. The afternoon was filled with ideas, discussion, and painting as the kids painted "community" flags that will hang around our classroom as a reminder of what we think is important for maintaining peace.

Once afternoon meeting was over and we'd sent the final kiddos on their way, we looked at each other and all let out an enormous sigh. "I feel like I should have brought some wine!" Rachel said. "This was the best first day we've ever had!"

And it was! My first day was the best first day. How lucky am I? The next best day will be the second...

Until then, here are some snapshots from my wonderful first day :)

'Twas the night before open house and all through the classroom...

...the teachers were busy stapling, labeling, and humming a tune.

Here I am, FINALLY back to my blog again. It's been a whirlwind these past few weeks and I'm excited to update. I think I should back up to what I've been up do these days...

This year I am teaching in a multiage elementary classroom at Stephens College and am working with three other teachers. The elementary classroom is housed in the basement of a residence hall and was in major need of renovation. Over the summer walls were torn down, the floors were re-finished, and (some) walls were given a fresh coat of paint. When my fellow teachers and I arrived to set up our classroom two weeks ago, we were overwhelmed by the amount of dust, construction debris, and stacks of furniture looming before our eyes. It wasn't until the night before open house that we finally finished setting up the classroom. But our time spent painting, cleaning, re-arranging (and re-arranging again), going out to lunch, dancing to 90's music as we worked, and sharing many laughs made it an enjoyable bonding experience for our team. Last Thursday when we finished putting away the last of the supplies and taping on the last name tag, we finally sighed in awe of the beautiful classroom we had created.....

I enjoyed setting up my office area. I feel especially at home :)

I know we love it and I can't wait to see it filled with happy children!