We all have our favorites, and for a variety of reasons.
Mine is the end of the first day of school. Yeah, I'm getting pretty specific, and here's why.
The lead-up to Day 1 is exhausting.
Is your room ready? Are your papers laminated? Do you have your first week planned out? Is your team's pacing guide aligned? Do you have enough whiteboard markers? How about tissues? Speaking of tissue, do you have the extra roll of toilet paper... just in case? How are your students going to be? Are you going to have another "Fredy"? Did you grow enough since last year? Did you grow too much? Should you change your room up? Wait... the laminator broke?
I'm sweating just rehashing all of that. It happens. The week--or more--before school starts comes with a swirl of questions, concerns, and panic. Even in my nth year of teaching, I was worried about all of things and more.
Are the kids going to like me?
Maybe you don't care if your kids like you. After all, you're there to teach content. Or whatever. Me? I felt like my kids liking me and feeling safe in the confines of Room 203 made it easier for me to teach, easier for them to learn, and just an all-around better year.
Especially going into my first year, and then again when I changed schools, there was no pre-constructed persona that students were warned about. To them, I'm just some young-ish white dude waiting to spew math in between their ears. It took a lot of hard work to break down the judgment and give them something to look forward to: me doing the best damn job I could on a daily basis.
Am I going to get to pee?
You might be laughing, but only because you know what I'm talking about. The first day (heck, the first 180) is filled with so much stuff, the kids are busy, the school is discombobulated, and your regular routine gets disrupted.
I like to give new teachers a little "teacher hack" of mine and tell them to bring a large water bottle and drink from it often throughout the first couple weeks. It keeps your throat from getting dry and resists that first month cold that I suffered through so many times. Only downside? Where's all that water going...?
What is my first impression going to be?
As many of the people close to me know, I don't do well with memorized speeches. I love going off the cuff with a generic outline because, to me, it feels more authentic. Sure, there are key talking points and activities that we'll do on the first day, but I can't structure it out in a way that confines me. The repercussions of this is that I have to be mindful of what I say and how I say it. Did I come across as too mean? Sarcastic? Silly? They're teenagers and are judging me heavily. Do I have pit stains? Is my tie on right? I zipped up my pants... didn't I?
And then... the final bell.
It is finished.
I have survived day 1.
No, it is not my favorite because the first day of school has ended and I "only" have 179 more. It is not because my room is empty, because I don't have anything to grade (although that's a nice perk, too), or because parents aren't calling me.
The end of the first day of school is my favorite because, year after year, it reassures me that I am in the right profession and that everything is going to be alright.
I know that I have 179 more days to improve my relationship with my students.
I know that my pacing guide will be just fine.
I know that the work I put in before the year will pay off.
I know that, although I will have bad days, I have another great group of students.
I know that, above all else, education is the ideal profession and it is an honor to do this another year.
Happy "End of Day 1" Fishing