Year Two: Let’s rock, let’s rock TODAY.

My school year has finally started, and I am two days into year two of this whole teaching thing. I will openly admit that I was mildly apprehensive about starting this school year — the summer was just so sweet and I spent so much time with beautiful friends and it was just incredibly relaxing. Why would I want that to end!? I was also a little nervous about starting at my new school, not because I didn’t know anyone (to be honest, I know a lot of my coworkers already and the whole staff is wonderful), but because I knew how much higher the stakes would be. Not only am I in a district where my principal will actually observe me on a regular basis, but my second year is a crucial year to my receiving my Standard Professional License in the state of North Carolina. I have to receive certain marks by the end of the year on my evaluation in order to be able to apply for my SPL, and if I don’t qualify this year I never will.

No pressure, right?

Oh, and did I mention the principal’s daughter is in my class?

Really, no pressure…

I actually tried to write out all of these feelings a week or two ago, but words just seemed futile. I had too many things going on in my head to fully process what was going on, so here I am telling you all about this now.

Fortunately, those feelings were squelched on Thursday of last week when I met the kids and their families. They all seemed so happy to be at the school, which was a refreshing thing to see. That night I caught the excitement bug and things started becoming more real for me. I accepted the fact that I was in a new place and realized that this year was going to be absolutely amazing.

Sunday night I naturally couldn’t sleep — does any teacher ever sleep the night before the first day of school?! I mean honestly! I went over a hundred and one scenarios in my head about what the kids would be like and how the day would go and what we would do and what that would look like and everything else in between.

Literally. Everything else in between.

The first day of school was yesterday and I have to say, I think it went pretty well. I have everything planned out, but despite my plans I still kind of winged it from time to time. It definitely worked, though I feel as though it could have been more streamlined. I was so concerned with not wanting to forget to tell them something, which threw me off a couple times. I like mildly winging it on the first few days though, because I find it really important to answer student questions when they come up and to address things as they occur. Today during reading for example, with one of my classes we spent a longer time talking about the classroom library because a lot of them weren’t familiar with the term “genre” — ergo, we had a discussion about different kinds of genres and how they were arranged in our classroom library. My other group didn’t need to have this conversation since they were all familiar with different genres. I enjoy this flexibility, and I think it makes the day a little more fun with the spontaneity. I think I’ll get this down pat the more first days that I have, so I’m not too worried about it.

My kids are hilarious — I love them. They are so sweet and kind and I know we’re still in the honeymoon stage, but I’ve already brought out my Durham teacher voice, so I think these kids know I mean business. It amazes me how much help a TA is, too — not just to make copies and take the kids to lunch, but just having her there as behavioral reinforcement. It makes a WORLD of a difference compared to last year.

I’m feeling really good about this year. I know it’s still really early, but I am enjoying taking each day as it comes. I don’t feel any high stress, and it feels nice knowing I have planning time (REAL PLANNING TIME) built into my schedule regularly. It’s keeping me from staying up doing it at home, and for that I am beyond grateful.

The days have certainly gone by quickly. I feel like I blink and it’s already noon. I know every day won’t be like this, but for now I am reveling in that feeling of a fast day.

And now, I leave you with one (of many) of my favorite student quotes from the past two days:

You know, I kind of thought you might be a monster when I first met you, like you’d pull your face off like a mask, but I’m glad you’re a human and we do fun stuff with you. You’re awesome!

Having kids realize that I’m not The Teacher from the Black Lagoon: Priceless.

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