I am starting this blog a few weeks before I begin my third year of teaching. I will be teaching 8th grade U.S. History for the second year.
I never actually got to experience a normal start to a school year as a teacher. I got my first position in October 2013, teaching 11th grade U.S. History and 12th grade Economics and Government. Then I changed schools to be a little closer to home, and spent the first Quarter of the 2014-2015 school year on maternity leave. I was there on the first day of school, but it was mostly just to say hello. I started my leave the next day and had my third daughter the next week. Being 9 months pregnant at the time, I hardly remember exactly what that first day was like other than the overall chaos. I dressed up (as best as a very pregnant lady can) and tried to look professional. I introduced my long term sub and went over my behavior policy and overall expectations. I told the students about myself and I learned about them as best I could – they did NOT like being in the spotlight as we went around the room for introductions.
When I returned from maternity leave I had to get to know everyone as though it were the first day again. All of the students already had existing relationships with each other and the other teachers, so it was hard feeling so “new” again. As the year progressed, despite the struggles that accompany teaching at a Title I school, I grew pretty fond of my students and started missing them even before the school year ended. I truly hope that they all have a wonderful freshman year as I move on to another incoming group of fidgety, awkward, dramatic, demanding, but still amazing and fun 8th graders. I hope I can keep up the “Mean Mrs. Hatfield” front for longer this time, because my students always catch on pretty quickly that no matter how irritated or frustrated they get me, I break pretty easily – its not at all hard to make me smile.
My family and friends occasionally check in (they’re mostly still in NY) and bring up the new year. They ask if I’m prepared or if I have things I need to do. I’m a teacher, of course I have things I need to do! My classroom isn’t set up, I don’t have a properly functioning laptop (I have to exchange it for a new one, yet I keep saving files to this one which I hope I won’t lose during the switch), I haven’t started officially “planning” and of course I’m not organized.
I wonder if students realize the work and worry that go into preparing for a new school year. I wonder if they will appreciate the new learning activities I have planned (in my mind – remember, I’m not at the planning point yet). I wonder if they have been planning too – planning to really do their best this year.
I wonder if they are as excited as I am for the first day of school. I need to get some comfy shoes though, because my feet are definitely not excited…