As I settle in on the eve of our second week of school, I'm called to recall last Sunday's preparations. Ms. Frizzle's request for posts about the first day of school has me thinking.
I usually hit the sheets on the night before school starts with a lump in my throat and worries on my mind. You might have read the poem I wrote about it….
Twas the night before school's start,
in her head, in her home,
the teacher was worried
about the unknown.
The kids and their parents
might drive her to drink.
And what of the testing:
What will the state think?
Will they pass all the subtests?
Will they get AYP?
Will the children be able
to test ably?
But on this night, September 5, 2005, I found sleep easily.
My lesson plans were complete, balanced, leak proof. They reflected the necessary (state mandated) “essential knowledge”, and they met my “Mommy” test: would I want my own child to be doing this stuff?
I sleepily sighed with the anticipation of seeing my students again. Over the summer, memories of their attempts to bite me and kick me and hate me had faded. I rolled over, on this, the night before school starts, and remembered Darlene’s amazing smile, Jacob’s contagious giggle, and Fred’s heartfelt hugs. Even the prospect of the NEW KID’s wrath didn’t ruin my feelings of peaceful satisfaction mixed with excitement.
The fact that my instructional assistant had been hired at the twelfth hour didn’t upset me. We’d only spent a few hours together, but I could tell we were a good match. Moreover, I could tell she was ready for the kids, ready to open her heart and mind to the challenges ahead.
One of my students requires a one-on-one aide, and THAT person had yet to be hired. Even that didn’t get me down, as I finished my evening prayers, on this, the night before school starts.
In fact, I slept like a baby.
And when, at 8:35 on Tuesday morning, the school doors swung open, Fred was the first to greet me in the hall. He grabbed me around the waist, looked up, and tears welled in his eyes.
“What’s wrong, Bud?” I whispered.
“You’re so beautiful, Mrs. R. This school is so beautiful.”
Now, THAT’S a good way to start the year.