Sunday, August 21, 2011

Back to School

Despite my laments in the last post about the end of summer, I really do love back-to-school time.  I always loved school growing up, and now I enjoy seeing students who have that same excitement.  I absolutely love setting up my classroom.  This time of year always brings back memories of helping my mom set up her classroom when I was in middle school.  We'd go out to lunch and spend the whole day together getting her room ready for the new year.  I thought it was so fun to create bulletin boards and put up posters!  (Ok, I still think that's fun!)  Now she's a principal and I'm the teacher with a room to set up, and I still love that feeling of putting together a special place for the kids and giving it that "home" feeling.

I worked our school's schedule pick-up earlier this week, and it was exciting to see all the anxious kids with their parents.  They were so excited to see what team they were on and what teachers they had... and of course to see their friends.  The sixth graders were so cute with their nervous, shy faces and overwhelmed parents who were so happy to get some friendly instructions.  They've been all over the building for the past few days walking through their schedules and getting their lockers set up, and it gives the school this anxious buzz of activity that is really fun!

On Friday we had our first teacher workday, complete with a big district kick-off in the morning, that first building meeting, and some much-needed time to work in my room.  As I was working in my room, this little (I mean LITTLE... I think he came up to his friend's shoulder!) 6th grade boy and his friend popped in.  Context for this story: My first two years of teaching, I taught in our district's elementary Spanish program, where I traveled between 6 buildings teaching a tiny bit of Spanish to about 1600 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders.  I saw them once a week for 12 weeks.  Our 6th graders this year are the 3rd graders from my second year of teaching.

         Boy: "I don't know if you remember me, but I went to (Elementary School)..."
         me:  "Oh yeah!" (in my head: no clue!)  "What's your name again?"
         Boy: "I'm ____________".
         me: "Right!  Are you taking Spanish this year?"
         Boy: "Well I was going to but all my friends were taking Video Broadcast and I wanted to be with them... but I'm going to take it next year!"
         me: "Aw, that's too bad, we're going to have lots of fun! But I know it's hard for you guys because you don't get to do very many of the choices!  I'm glad you're taking it next year though!"
         Boy: "Well I just wanted to say hi and to tell you that you always made it really fun at (Elementary  School)!"

SO sweet, right? :-)  I love our students!  I've had so many little moments like that over the past couple of years.  I love middle schoolers because a lot of them are still not afraid to spontaneously blurt out "I love Spanish!" or "This class is so fun!" or "You have the best Notebook files!" or "I love your room!" (all actual quotes from my students last year) in the middle of class.

I'm sure he doesn't realize it but that little guy on Friday totally made me ready to start school again... although I am disappointed his friends talked him out of Spanish for this year.  I'm excited to see the rest of those 3rd-graders-turned-6th-graders next week!


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