If you're not a teacher, or have never worked in an elementary school, there is nothing that even comes close to the first day back to school every September. It's better than getting candy on Halloween. It makes you feel special, like your birthday. And there's more anticipation, excitement, and optimism than New Year's Eve. Today, our first day back, was no exception. In the fourteen years I've been a teacher, today was the smoothest, happiest, most positive first day back ever! I'm liking this feeling around our school already!
Now, this doesn't mean to say the teachers are sitting back emailing, blogging, or checking Facebook all day. They have been preparing for the first day of school since they left in June. There's something to be said for soaking up sun on the beach thinking about your plans for the year ahead, or catching up on some reading and visiting with old friends to revitalize yourself for the upcoming year. Just because you don't see teachers in their rooms all summer doesn't mean they are not thinking, planning, and preparing. If you don't believe me, just ask my husband. He gets tired of me always saying no matter where we are or what we're doing, "I could use that [fill in the blank] with my kids next year!" I also never tire of the wild expression on a clerk's face when I tell her I'm buying these for "my kids" as she scans 24 mini super balls for my treasure box.
As is typical for the first day back, I was wide awake at 5:00 a.m. this morning, excited and feeling very positive about the year ahead. I couldn't wait to meet the 22 little 3rd graders who would arrive at my door. Really. New faces. New little personalities. How fantastic! I'd spent some time the night before memorizing their 2nd grade pictures from the yearbook, so I could greet each student by name as they arrived. And just like many of the kids, I pondered my outfit for the first day and triple-checked my hair. First impressions are so important. I really wanted my students to like me and our classroom. I wondered how many of my students were thinking the same thing.
So, let's recap the more positive parts of the first day back.
As I rounded the corner into my classroom this morning, all the chairs were unstacked and at each desk! What a positive start to the day! It was one less thing I had to do before the students arrived. What a wonderful custodian to think of all us teachers and help us out. When I thanked him after school, he told me he knew we had so much to do, he thought he'd try to help us out. Fabulous!
As I breezed into the office, I received not one, but two hugs from our secretaries. They were positively thrilled (or at least amused) with my shout out to them in my previous blog. Awwwwww.... Now, as many of you know, I'm not a "hugger" but I'm beginning to think there's something to it.
When the scheduled school recess was rained out, I didn't even hear the usual collective groan that comes from each classroom (and I don't mean just the teachers). It was a positive, fun recess in every classroom as students played, talked, and got to know one another. I also noticed that many teachers hung out in their rooms to spend the time talking to students and making sure things were running smoothly.
Standing in the hallway, it was a great feeling to have students from last year stop by, smile, give me a hug and catch up for a minute. They beamed as they told me how excited they were about 4th grade. Such a positive attitude as they begin a new year of learning.
I cleared my desk off. (That's a positive any day in my book).
And the most positive thing of all is that people just seem a bit happier around the building. Now I'm not saying we all need to be skipping around with flowers in our hair, and bluebirds tweeting around our head (to quote a fellow teacher). Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but I think this can really last. Maybe it's because it's just the first day back. But I challenge us all to keep it up. Let's make this the best year ever.
P.S. Halloween costumes??