Day one. The buses are pulling out of the parking lot, I turn off the lights, lock my door and stagger out to the car. I call my husband and uttered, “Pizza. Pizza and wine.” Once home, my head hits the couch and I fall asleep.
But in spite of how exhausting it is, I love it. Over twenty years in, I still LOVE the start of school. The teachers are all being civil to each other, they are energized, someone bakes cookies another puts an apple and a card on your desk in the morning. You just kind of walk around with a smile. I love the way my classroom looks. Neat, tidy, it will never look that way again, at least not this year.
I love how the kids have an infinite amount of energy, they are amped! They chatter away about their summer while giving you big hugs. They look look like they have been in the sun. There is nothing better than the look of relief on the face of a lost kindergartner when you offer your hand, or the gratitude of a parent when you direct them to the correct teacher.
You know the kids are on in a “honeymoon phase” and you know you are talking too much, but you cannot help it. They have to know the bathroom signal, where to get supplies, when we go to recess, how to order lunch and where to put their stuff. And lord do they have stuff. They sit there with their backpacks and bags and they cannot settle down until they unload it, a trashcan fills with plastic packaging and pencil boxes as they move in and get situated. They are so nervous it makes me smile.
I take their picture that day. They will all stand still and fake a small smile. For some kids that is the only picture you will get. I play a name game. Pretty simple. Then an ice-breaker and finally they are up and moving around, this one requires that they talk to everyone. It is funny too and they laugh! Next I do a challenging name-art project that will hang on the wall all year. I give pretty good directions, but step back and just watch how they tackle it, you learn a LOT about your class that way.
Lunch. Recess. A read aloud. Always a catchy book, hook em right away! It was Holes by Louis Sachar, but then the movie came out and that lovely twist was spoiled. I gave it a rest for a few years and returned to it again recently and was pleasantly surprised that none had seen the movie. Old I guess. More ice-breaker, journal and then I put them on the bus. And I follow the buses out of the parking lot!
And I get home and nap, and my husband comes home with pizza and wine. And we watch a bit of TV, but I can’t concentrate, and I am in bed by 8:00pm and I sleep hard. Soon the class will have that daily buzz, the daily routine, the part I really love, reading groups and writing conferences and art projects. But for today, I will savor the magic that is the beginning of a new school year.