Tuesday, September 04, 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the Hopeful

We had a fabulous first day today. We didn't do much and I think that was a good thing. I read A LOT of books to them (I think the final count was nine) and we explored with crayons, pattern blocks, and scissors. We did also manage to organize all our materials. Easing into first grade is good for all of us.

Sadly, stories of other teachers (stories heard from all over) marred my wonderful day. In our exhaustion we, as teachers, adults, authority figures, do not always respond to students well. I know that is true for me and I do try not to judge others. But I am hearing stories of first days. Days that should not include complete exhaustion - not yet, there are 179 more for that. 

I dropped my kids off at P.E. today and they followed their P.E. teacher across the gym in a fairly straight line. What they desperately wanted to do was to talk to and wave at all their friends in the other two classes, kids they knew from kindergarten and hadn't seen in two months. I am so grateful to that fabulous P.E. teacher for gentle reminders and patience with their enthusiasm.

That's my biggest goal for this school year. I want to respond to my students with gentleness and empathy. I want to imagine how they are feeling - good or bad - and try to make things better. I won't always succeed but these beautiful little brand-new first graders deserve a teacher who keeps trying to treat them the way she wants her daughters treated. These students are someone else's daughters and sons. I want to be the teacher I want for my girls.

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