I had my first day of school yesterday. [Side Note #1: starting classes on a Friday seems so civilized.] It was really fun to meet all of my students. We had a crazy schedule for the day, so all of the blocks met instead of just 4 of them, which is how it works on a normal day. But that meant I got to see everyone.
Two of my classes are predominantly freshmen, and I was helping out with freshman orientation the previous two days. It was fun to walk into class and see people who I already knew a little bit. I’ve never had that happen before. Well… I had one student last year who had failed algebra the year before and was taking it with me for the second time. Not quite the same. At one of my previous jobs, we talked about having allies in the classroom and how that can make a difference in how things go. This was certainly true for my first day. I had some allies already and that helped me to feel less nervous.
That and the fact that I got them working in groups ASAP. I’m not the biggest fan of talking in front of people. But I love chatting with people. So, instead of standing at the whiteboard with 32 eyes staring at me, I wandered around and talked with small groups about the problem(s) they were working on.
My class of sophomores/juniors/a couple of seniors was truly awesome. They knew exactly what to do, and even reminded me of some of the things the math team does that I’d forgotten.
Student: “Bree, what are the paging points?” Me: [oh sh*t!] “I completely forgot about those. Give me a second.” Student: “Okay.”–goes back to work–
[Side Note #2: “paging points” are the points at which each group needs to “page” the teacher to check their work/ask them questions before they can copy down what they have done on the whiteboard and move on. I know, the lingo is a little 90’s, but it seems to work.]
All in all, smoothest first day ever. Not that I’ve had a huge amount of first days so far in my career. I guess it would be my seventh. And no, I have not been teaching for 7 years. Having allies, having students who have already been trained in procedures, that made a world of difference. Especially considering that it was my first day (teaching) at the school too. I’ve been working there for the past two weeks, but there’s no need to get me started on that.
I had fun. I think many of my students had fun. And I got to go home at the end of the day and collapse, then spend the weekend recovering and getting ready for the week ahead.