Today was our first day back with real live kids in our classrooms. I always dread the first day of school, to be honest. I get the whole fresh-start thing and all, but all the new faces exhaust my little introverted brain and mock my memory. The perfectionist in me wants to have all 150 names memorized. Yesterday. The realist in me has decided she can’t look at any more face shots on the computer screen.
But, this was truly a great first day of school. The best part about coming back is always seeing kids I had last year–whether in my classroom again or just in the hallways. I had three junior girls in one of my calc sections last year who made it a point to all come by together to say hello, give hugs, and ask what the gender of Baby Peterson is (boy!). I had a girl tell me she was excited for calculus more than any other class. Another kid told me he’s decided to major in mathematics because of me.
These kids just stop in my tracks.
I loved today because my students reminded me exactly why I do what I do.
I always my have kids write me a letter the first day of school to introduce themselves. Simply reading them (and looking up their pictures) takes a good two hours, but I think it’s worth it. Kids shared things that ranged from absolutely heart-warming (“I want to help the environment,” “I am so excited to have you again as my teacher,” “I love helping people.”) to absolutely heart-breaking (“I have thyroid cancer,” “I have a two-month-old baby,” “I don’t see a future for myself.”).
I see that I’ve been allowed the joy of having an impact on a few of the kids on our campus already. But I also see that there are so many more that need someone to listen and care.
Today’s good thing is that I was reminded of how important our job is as teachers, of how much we have to teach these kids, and of how much they have to teach us.