Monday, August 26, 2013

Slice of Life - The Start of a New School Year

Slice of Life is sponsored every Tuesday by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers

It amazes me how eighteen years into teaching, the first week still knocks me for a loop. I have enough plans from last week to last for three. I always forget that the group coming in is not at the same place as the kids who just left. Transitions will take longer, explanations will need to be detailed, and we will find our way.

And yet, I love it. I love the start of a new school year. It seems ripe with possibility. I love getting to know a new group, finding our rhythm, and watching them grow.

This year is unique. My oldest son, Luke, is in my reading class. Between my three classes – 80 students! – I have known many since they were babies. Faces smile at me and I remember them as toddlers. Luke looks up from his table and grins. I marvel at how far this group has come since I knew them as kindergartners and I dream of how far they can go.

This year I had all three classes fill out the questionnaires I usually just hand out to my homeroom. I’ve spent hours over the weekend reading through each one and typing the information into Evernote. Normally I’d just take a photo to save the information, but at five pages (20 questions with lots of room to write), photos wouldn’t work. After school today – grateful to be in the air conditioning, I spent close to six hours reading, typing, and reading some more. I now have eleven left, but need to wait for them until morning. My eyes are blurred and I know I won’t give them the attention they deserve right now.

What have I learned? So much. Fears, joys, worries, dreams. Fifth graders are still willing to share with their teachers. They are, as a group, excited about school and confident that it will be fun. They can all name a favorite author, book, and genre. Some want to be authors themselves. Many already knew about me before entering my class – I’m apparently nice, love to read, buy books, eat chocolate, and I have two sons. Oh, and I like to smile.

I have found myself alternating between laughter as I read and, occasionally tears. I’m confident that we will have a great year. I already know I will dread when they leave. Between now and then, so many possibilities await.

Below is a video of just a few pictures from our first week together. Enjoy!