I'm a teacher now. It happened sort of all at once. I was hired as a math instructional specialist back in July and then got bumped over to a 5th grade classroom teacher a few weeks ago (MY DREAM!) It's been hell on ice since then trying to get a classroom together and figure out what the EFF I'm supposed to be doing. My head is swimming with all the things I didn't get right the first day (like rules and procedures) and I'm praying that I can keep up with pacing schedules and meetings while figuring out how to run literacy intervention assessments on kids I don't know. Boof. In any case, here is the first day's reflection that I wrote:
September 30, 2012
I arrived on my first day super early, I thought. I readied nametags and pencil boxes and paced around madly trying to figure out exactly what I was supposed to do to turn on my smartboard. Suddenly, one of my students walked in 42 minutes early. I panicked, greeted her, and started her on her entry task. My immediate next thought was, "!$!%%&#%@$#@ THAT TASK IS ONLY MEANT TO LAST 5-10 MINUTES SHE IS GOING TO FINISH IT WHAT DO I DOOOOOO????" Fortunately, the veteran 5th grade teacher next door booted out all of my kids and told them they were not to come back until the bell rung. This did not stop the next wave of kiddos and their parents. I tried my best to greet them all at the door, but their numbers were too many and parents wanted to talk to me about so many things.
Finally, the bell rang, I greeted my class, and the first question was, "What do we do with our school supplies?"
I didn't know! I had no idea what they should do with their school supplies. I have trapezoid tables instead of desks and I was supplied with no additional closets or bookcases for student items, so for the remainder of the day, students kept their school supplies in their backpacks.
The rest of the day was equally frantic, but also quite fun.
The frantic parts coincided with school-wide policies, which were never fully explained to me. I also had to take my students around to places like the music portable, cafeteria, and playground. I had no idea how to get to any of these places for the "mandatory practices" that I had only scarcely processed. I wasn't sure if I could leave the room to ask for directions, but we managed. I have 30 students, so my line is a mile long. If my kiddos learned nothing else today, they learned how to walk in a line. I was pretty proud of that.
Did I mention that I am replacing the teacher who passed away from her extensive injuries after a hit-and-run? Yeah. The kids knew that too, and it was tough. They all thought they were going to have Mrs. Best-Teacher-EVER and instead they had me (I am now regretting my Hunger Games analogy). That said, I think they all liked me just fine and 90% of them were totally psyched to be at school. Most of my kids are adorable, angelic, Hispanic kids. I have two kids with major behavioral issues who I know are going to make me lose my mind at least twice a week, but I like them all the same.
I suppose I went into this first year and first day of teaching thinking, "Here I am! The future Rafe Esquith ready to be spectacular and break the mold!" I can tell you now that after the first two days of school, I will be going by the book the rest of the year. Ingenuity and spectacular-ness can wait until my second year (at least). I just need to keep my feet on the ground for awhile.