“‘Ding,’ Pardon the interruption Mrs. G, but we need your attendance.” Oh my goodness, where is my attendance folder? I have 20 sweet second graders now helping me look everywhere for this bright red folder that says ‘Attendance’ on the front. “Mrs. Dianne I will send it down in just a moment.” My heart is racing, and all I can think of is the parent calls going out about their child not being at school!
Another “ding.” This time, I wake up. My heart is racing and look I at the clock. Thankfully, it is only 2 a.m., but this means that summer is coming to an end.
Every year about a week before we have to report back to school I have the same back-to-school dream. Scratch that, nightmare! The start of school is filled with all kinds of emotions for a teacher. I am so excited about the start of a new year, but I am always nervous about the first day. I’m so excited to see my class list and meet my kids at back-to-school night, but I’m sad because some older students have moved on to a new grade or even to a new school.
I have had some truly amazing students over the years. We always talk about how teachers change the lives of students, but I think we overlook how students change the lives of teachers. My students have impacted the way that I teach, and inspired me not only to be a better teacher but a better person. I love seeing those “old” students, especially when they are “cool” middle and high schoolers.
I loved the first day of school as a child, and I try to create those great memories for my students as well. Both of my parents worked, but they always drove me to and from school. One of my favorite first day memories is when my dad took me to Hardees for breakfast and we “jammed” out to the Beach Boys all the way to school. Every time I “jam” out to Kidz Bop in my classroom it brings me just a little closer to my father who is no longer here.
When we’re growing up, people impact our lives in so many ways. I have had so many great influencers who have shaped my life, and I know that my actions are shaping the lives of students now and for years to come. I keep this close to my heart every single day. I try to do right by my parents and the amazing people who have helped to lead and shape me into the person I am today.
Every teacher wants to provide a loving classroom community, and we want everything to be wonderful on the first day. To ease my first day jitters, I think back to how my great teachers loved and welcomed me. They made me feel like a valuable part of their classroom. I try to bring that VERY important part to my classroom. Every single day, I smile, I laugh, I dance, and I love each one of my students. I want my classroom to be a safe, welcoming, and loving place that each one of my students can come to every day. This always starts the same way, greeting my students with a loving smile on the first day of school.
Stefanie Gorman is a second grade teacher at Hunters Bend Elementary School.