“I vividly remember my first day of teaching. I was introduced to the school and my department head by my principal. I was informed of all the wonderful activities in which students were involved. My department head was so energetic and told me she would be in my classroom the first couple of days to help me get adjusted. What I wasn’t told was that my “classroom” would be the media center. There were four other classes of 35 students each, sharing this one large room all day! Let’s add to this madness for a minute: I had no books, and my department head didn’t visit me one time my first year.”
“My first day was wild. I had a book thrown at me and a student told me this was her “f*&king” classroom.”
“I had these community building activities planned. The kids were supposed to fill out surveys about their favorite activities and whatnot, and then we would share as a group. Well, the students were all boys who had been in the same class for years and hated each other. Several of them had diagnosed behavior disorders. When I called on the first kid to introduce himself, other kids made fun of him before he even opened his mouth. He was a little overweight, and as soon as I read the first question—‘What is your favorite activity?’—all the other boys started yelling, ‘Eating! Ha ha. Eating mayonnaise!’ They did this for the next few questions. I stopped the activity before we got to question number seven, ‘What is your favorite food?’ Needless to say, not much of a community was built.”
“I started a month into the school year, so my classes came as overload students from existing classes. It took teachers a while to send students, so in the beginning I would psych myself up and be disappointed but also a little relieved when no one showed up. Then I got one new student. I had to make a judgment call about what to do, and I ended up teaching this kid a lesson I had planned for the entire class. Other teachers laughed at me for that one.”
“All I remember are papers flying everywhere.”
“I had come into teaching after 17 years as an accountant. Maybe for this reason, I expected students to be sitting quietly at their desks, ready to listen to whatever I had to say. When the bell rang that first day, not one single student was sitting down. Asking them to be quiet, telling them to be quiet, even threatening them with being sent to the office all met the same response: They would close their mouths for one or two seconds, and then at the exact moment I resumed doing whatever I was doing, they started talking again. The loudest my old office got was maybe having a conversation with two people with the dot-matrix printer running in the background. My classroom, by comparison, was like being on a runway with jets constantly taking off or landing. I couldn’t think about teaching. The only thing on my mind was ‘How do I get these kids to shut up?’”
“The first day for me was great! It led me to the irrational conclusion that the rest of my year would be as grand, but the joke was on me.”
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