The first day of school of my fifth (!) year of teaching is now over. I'm exhausted and happy. I needed the reminder of what it feels like to be in front of 30 bright young Baltimore minds, to get the taste of last week out of my mouth. I did my first day routine (four years running now) of listening to a nine-minute recording of "Thank You, Ma'am," answering some questions about it,a nd completing a character chart about it. That's in addition to going over the syllabus and stuff like that. I enjoyed myself.
It was a strange day, though. This was the new principal's first first day of school, and while I enjoyed a lot of the things - his presence in the halls, his opening remarks - the day had some organizational problems. The first period combined with homeroom for two and a half hours with the same group of kids. At the end of the day, when they finally organized the bus tickets together, they called back that group of kids to hand out the tickets. For some reason, they left 35 minutes for that. In other words, I was given three hours and five minutes with one group of kids. I won't mess around, it sucked. But if that was the biggest hurdle, that's pretty good.
One kid who I had in the morning and then again in the afternoon raised his hand in the afternoon and asked me to bend down, saying he had a personal question. He then asked me if I smoked weed. I was shocked and told him it wasn't an appropriate question to ask, and then he told me that my eyes were really red in the morning and that he thought I'd come to first period "baked." I was taken aback still but then had to give the speech about my eye surgeries and the lack of tears my eyes produce which cause them to be red often. I didn't even have any irritation this morning so I wasn't aware that my eyes were even red. I did in fact give that speech in the beginning of last year to squash any rumors of that and I just had forgotten to this year. I won't tomorrow.
The second funny - this one not wildly inappropriate - moment was this one girl who, as I was walking around the room explaining schedules, asked me what my scent was. I asked her to repeat herself, and again, I heard, "What is your scent?" I was embarassed, as I had just come from a pretty intense gym workout, and I thought to myself, "Uh, that stuff at Bally's that doubles as both shampoo and body wash..." But I just said, "I'm not sure." She looked surprised, then repeated her question louder. "What," she rpeated, "is your descent? Is it German or Italian, or what?" Ah, I got it then. "Polish," I answered.
Overall, I was happy with the quality of student that I saw on the first day, other than the weed kid. Lots of hand raising, lots of insightful comments. I have a good feeling about the dh now, too - or at least, better. She was running to and from from rooms and seemed to have a calming presence. I still don't know how she could have planned a worse first meeting than she had with us on Friday, but I'm getting a little more optimistic.
The best part of the first day of school, though, is seeing the old kids. I got so many hugs today, kids would run up to me and throw their arms around me (the girls) or come up to me and do that half-handshake/half-arm wrap thing (the guys) even though I was a sweaty mess. It's so great to see them again, seriously. So many of them sprout up six or seven inches the year after freshmen year, it seems, and I found myself looking up to them rather than looking down to them. Others look the same now as Juniors or Seniors as they did as 9th graders, just with a little more age in the face.
I am exhausted, though, so I'll be headed to bed within the hour, unless I decide to immerse myself in that new show about the prison break out, which is getting really good press and I'm desperate to get into some TV shows this year to get my ass away from the computer.
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