Monday, March 5, 2012

Yet Another First Day

Day 5 of 31 at TWT
Today was (once again) the first day of the trimester.  Another weekend of moving out and moving in.  Another night and morning with a pit in my stomach and thoughts spinning through my head:  What would the kids be like?  What would the "personality" of each class be like?  Could I make the rooms work?  Would the technology work?  Could I still function from a cart after being spoiled by having a room for 2/3 of the year?

Another day in a blur of new faces and new names.  More getting to know each other, establishing expectations, and practicing procedures.

Last night, when I was supposed to be falling asleep, I started thinking about first days and how I vehemently dislike them.  (Really, I vehemently dislike the hours leading up to them!)  I realized that I've had a ridiculous number of first days in my short teaching career.  How many? I started counting.

In my first job, I taught Spanish to over a thousand 3rd-5th graders once a week for twelve weeks, changing schools every trimester like I do now.  (Except I also traveled during the day, for a grand total of 6 -- that's right, 6 -- schools per year.)   So really, I had 5 first days every trimester, since I saw the kids once a week and had completely different classes every day.

(5 first days x 3 trimesters) x 2 years = 30 first days in my first two years of teaching.

Then I got my current position, where thankfully I get to see the kids every day (for a trimester)!  So, only 1 first day each trimester.

(1 first day x 3 trimesters) x 3 years = 9 first days in the past 3 years of teaching

Of course, I also taught summer school several summers.  A couple of the years, I had 2 separate multi-week "sessions", and one year I had 2 classes simultaneously.

(1 first day x 2 sessions) + (1 first day) + (1 first day x 2 sessions) = 5 first days in 3 years of summer school

Wow!  30 + 9 + 5 = 44 first days in 5 years of teaching (counting today).  

Astonished, I tell Husband.  He says "Some people don't have that many first days in their whole teaching careers!"

You'd think after 44 first days, I wouldn't get nervous anymore.  You'd think I'd know that the day will go fine, the kids will be sweet and fun, and we'll have a great trimester together.  But I still had to take a deep breath before I shoved my cart into the first room.

And you know what?  It was great.  The rooms are fine, the technology worked, my expert traveling cart skills (a topic for another day!) came back like riding a bike.  Best of all, the kids were sweet little balls of pent-up excitement for Spanish, each class seems to have a good balance of diverse kids, and we had lots of fun getting to know each other.

I'm pretty sure I deserve a nap now!


  1. Hope you got that nap! You made me chuckle- but seriously, we all know that first-day feeling!

  2. First times of most things are the pits. Usually it's only in the mind and when you get started it's fine. It's the apprehension of the unknown that makes us doubt and wonder how will it go. You did a lot of math, and that is not even your subject. You DO deserve a nap. Have a good second tomorrow!

  3. Jennifer, amazing! In my whole career I've had less than 30 first days. The fact that it went well, & I believe I remember the last time you wrote about this the day also went well. To me that means that all the prep, all the long weekend before, all you no-sleeping-night-before means that you care so much that it is a success. You must be a wonderful teacher. Hope you had a long nap! And thanks for sharing.

  4. That's a lot of math! It reminds me of how I despise connecting flights because the take-offs and landings are the most stressful part of flying. You get extra points for living so many of the stressful parts!

  5. The nerves never go for me. I usually have a dream in August about being late for the first day of school -- how's that for deep-seated anxiety!

    First days can be a drag, but endings have to be followed by new beginnings. My favorite quote from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead: Every exit is an entrance somewhere else. Have a great time with the kids!

  6. You totally deserve a tap!

    I like the way you wove math throughout your slice.



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