Typically, I would say that I am a POSITIVE person–cup half full. You know the type…annoyingly so. In fact, I’m absolutely sure that there are some teachers that are curmudgeons by nature at my school that find it difficult to even be in the same room as me. That being said, last year I finally admitted it: I HATE the first week of school! It’s not that I lack excitement about new possibilities or methods I might try. I do! That makes me excited about the school YEAR. I’m talking about the first WEEK. Here’s why:
They don’t know me. My students, that is. We haven’t established trust and rapport–we aren’t family yet. I’m some stranger to them. They may have heard about me. I don’t know…they just seem cynical at first. Like they’re saying, “Sure you care…prove it!” That’s exactly what I go about doing day in and day out until the work of trust is firmly established. But it’s hard work and it is just a given later in the year. I remember, on the third day of school last year, one of my students said (read in teenage girl voice), “Are we going to do any lessons? Like, will there be PowerPoints?” I thought to myself, “Have I not been teaching for the last three days?” It takes time for them to get to know me and how I operate–which is often different from their previous teachers, which only makes them even MORE skeptical of me. Most importantly, I have to convince them that what I do is good. I start to doubt myself and think, “By the end of the year, they’ll get me and, hopefully, math! RIGHT?”
A lost puppy. Just as much as being positive is my nature, I’m a girl of routine. I need to know where to be to be productive during prep and lunch periods. I spend the first week, looking for those places–access to copier, not too many people so that I get caught up in nonsense chatter (which I am also VERY good at!). I’m like a lost puppy and each night I go home saying, “I got nothing done at school today!” Augh…Can’t wait!
Unrealistic expectations. I think it’s a “mom thing,” but each new year I tell myself that I’ll be able to still make dinner nightly, workout, have quiet time, etc once school starts. For the first week or so, I try to make sure that is the case. By late September, I’ve long given up the dream. My children return to their self-proclaimed status as “dinner orphans” and honestly, we’re all happier for it! But that first week, I kill myself trying to add in an after school workout, making dinner and doing school work I neglected to do while wandering the building looking for a place to work.
No worries, though. I know that the first week in each new year is like a newborn baby. I will get to that happy place where they KNOW me…no more proving myself, I’ll stop spinning my wheels and, maybe this year, I’ll leave dinner up to my kids on that first week. You’d think I’d learn after all these years! Here’s to realistic expectations and a great SECOND week :).