More Than Just Jitters.

My teeth are brushed, my hair still damp, my fan (and mind) spinning.

I’m staring at the ceiling because I can’t sleep.

My lunch is packed and in the refrigerator, my coffee mug set out on the counter, my outfit hanging by the door.

Tomorrow is the first day of my fifth year teaching.

Every year this happens — this “first day jitters” kind of deal. I’m beyond thrilled to start the year and get to know my new students. I’m always a¬†little nervous at least, because I want to make sure I don’t forget something big to tell them or show them. The first day of middle school is huge for these kids and I’m determined to make it a positive experience!

But tonight isn’t normal first day jitters.

I’m lying here awake because I feel so incredibly grateful to be this excited about my job.

Seriously, this is like second Christmas for me.

The blessing is real, y’all — I get to go to work and teach kids about the wonders of our world. I get to show kids their own hidden talents and help them realize their potential. I get to facilitate the learning of young people who might march for civil rights, cure cancer, or go live on Mars.

I get to work with a fabulous team of human beings who are dedicated to doing what’s best for kids.

I get to wake up in the morning and know I have a job that provides me with health insurance and the ability to pay a mortgage.

I am so thankful for these things. I am so thankful for the people in my life who aren’t at school with me every day who encourage me, love me, and challenge me. I can only hope to be a conduit of blessing to those around me wherever I go.

While I definitely have first day jitters tonight, I stand in awe of so many blessings God has granted me, including the passion He wrote on my heart to educate young people.

Here’s to a brilliant fifth year, friends — full of gratitude and constant amazement.

14.5 Hours and Miles Davis.

I’m trying my hardest to stay as calm as possible right now. Enter Mr. Miles Davis.

My head kind of feels like it’s going to explode because I’m thinking about more things than I ever have before in one sitting. I have this deep pit in my stomach and it’s kind of like that feeling you get when you’re asleep and you wake up because you feel as though you’re falling. I am super tired right now, but at the same time I have massive amounts of adrenaline speeding throughout my body — it’s such a strange sensation.

I fell back onto my bed amidst books and notes and other various papers and just stared at the ceiling for a good ten minutes earlier. I just stared.

I feel so many emotions right now about school starting tomorrow. Here’s the breakdown:

I am nervous. This is the first time I have ever done this all on my own, and that’s kind of a big deal. There were days where I was on my own last year, but this is different. I don’t have my TA there watching out for me and helping me with my kids and other random tasks. I also don’t have a team teacher to share teaching responsibility — this is all me.

I am scared. My primary goal for these children is to give them the best education I possibly can, because that’s what they deserve. My biggest fear in all of this is that I won’t be able to be an effective educator for them. What if I fail? What if my teaching style doesn’t work with my kids? What if they don’t pass their EOGs? The neverending amount of “what if” statements I could make here is just ridiculous, and I know it’s because I’m doubting myself (which I know I shouldn’t). It’s quite the conundrum.

I am ecstatic. Truly, I have been waiting for this day for a long time now. After meeting my kids, I couldn’t be happier to get into the swing of things and work with these precious little gems. Despite my fear and anxiety, my ultimate feeling throughout all of this has been excitement. I want to teach them all sorts of wonderful things, and I want to teach them these things in the most fun way possible. I know I won’t be able to sleep tonight, so I’ve got the melatonin out and ready for when it finally is bedtime.

I am calm. This surprises me. I have been relatively calm all summer and even these last two or so weeks about the school year starting. I feel like I shouldn’t be as calm as I am right now, but I guess deep down I really am prepared. I am fully aware that things will not go completely according to plan and things aren’t always perfect, and maybe my realization of that is helping keep me relaxed. I’ve been praying a lot about this week and this opportunity that God’s given me to be at this school, and I’d be lying if I said that didn’t account for why I feel the way I do right now. The last year or so I have been extremely more mellow than in years past, and I give the glory to God for calming my anxious, OCD heart. It feels good to be mellow. I also think the Miles Davis I’ve been listening to has a lot to do with my relaxed persona, but hey, who knows.

So those are my big feelings — it’s a complete roller coaster ride. One minute I feel super great and prepared and wonderful, and then ten minutes later I asked myself, “Oh my gosh, what am I going to do if a kid is really bad tomorrow? It’s the first day of school, we won’t even have our rules in place yet…how am I going to deal with that?! I don’t want to be mean on the first day of school…” and things of the like. When I question myself, it makes me feel so unsure about all of the time and effort I know I have put into this school year already. I know I need to go in tomorrow and be confident and show my kids how much I absolutely adore them. I need to know it’s okay if things get off schedule and crazy — that’s the first day of school for you.

Nothing will be perfect on paper and in my planner, but I’m hoping it will all be perfect for what it is — my first day as a teacher.