Wednesday, August 22, 2012


The smell of clean hallways, new notebooks, and freshly sharpened pencils have always been  delightful aromas in my opinion. So, for me, the first day of school is one filled with lots of pleasing scents infused with promise and hope. I see a clean piece of paper as a blank piece of opportunity to share powerful thoughts. A freshly sharpened pencil is the tool that can inscribe a message into the future.  A clean locker is an area soon to be filled with personality not just empty Red Bull cans.  My classroom, freshly decorated, organized and scrubbed is a room waiting on it's new family. Yes, I love the first day of school!

My first day 2012
Today as I was standing in the hallway, I was enjoying the buzz and excitement milling around me.  I watched students come pouring into the building from all directions. They were all dressed in their best, and some tried not to look too pressed and clean, but they all looked nice. Even though, they were wearing different outfits and the hair styles were blazingly different, one element matched. They were all smiling. Of course, some smiles were a little broader than others, but most were at least a little happy to be there.

Classroom Pictures
Granted some of the students were more overjoyed than others.  I witnessed two girls screaming like banshees as they ran full sprint down the hallway towards one another. At first, I was compelled to stop them, fearing they might be heading to tackle one another. However, as they slid to a stop and pulled each other into an embrace of tears and laughter, I sighed with relief.  These were just two of the young ladies I witnessed overly excited about being united after a long summer. 

Their male counterparts were not as exuberant when greeting one another. In fact, some of the "I am too cool for emotions" looks were funnier than the female freak outs.  High fives, quick upward jerks of the head, followed by some manly forms of grunting explains most of the male exchanges I witnessed throughout the day. However, as an adult I could see the nervous, insecure little boy through all those society-approved masculine gestures.  I had more than one approach me for directions, and I could hear his voice shaking. I would get him going in the right direction and mutter a prayer for serenity and support as he walked away. (A student's prayer is a good one)

Classroom Pictures
I think the most memorable part of my day was having former students find me to give me a hug, handshake or tell me about something they accomplished over the summer break. I was truly excited to see all of them, and even hunted a few down during lunch to see if they were doing well. The sheepish looks turned into joyful grins when I shared how much I had missed seeing them over the summer. Although, I am teaching a new section of kids, I invited them to come visit me at lunch. This is the first year I have been able to teach in the same building two years in a row, and it is so fulfilling to see how much my kids from last year have grown. 

I had one emotional moment that caused me to fight to hold back tears. In response to a survey question I asked the students to share what they felt about reading. One response was so heartbreaking I could hardly muster the strength to keep from giving her a hug. The student responded, "I WANT to enjoy reading, but the words are always too hard, and I just do not understand when I read." What an amazing reflective response that highlights only one area of the reading barriers my students face.  I have my work cut out for me this year, but I am willing to take on the challenges that lay ahead. I hope that you will all come along on the journey this year and share in the trials and triumphs I am sure the students and I will face in the new Language!  (insert jazz hands) course. 
Classroom Pictures
I am really looking forward to another wonderful school year, and hope to be able to document it through this blog so stay tuned.  I pray that this year I am more effective, reach more students, and can provide them with skills to improve literacy and their outlook on life. I hope I will be able to make a difference in the lives of my students,  and look forward to the differences I know they will make in mine.