Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I'm a teacher!

Celeste, the title of this blog is for you. I hope you can imagine the voice I would use to say that. I would follow it up with, "I'm spilling my guts here, MOM!"

Day three of week 1. That seems really small and insignificant when I know that there's at least 170 more school days to go this year. But three days also seems like far more than I thought I would be able to do at 1 a.m. last Sunday night.

I have never, ever, ever felt that scared, unprepared and yet locked in. It was like the moment when you're already in the air. You've already leapt off the diving board, you can't scramble back now, and below the water is looking really, really cold. I've also never felt more alone. After I dropped Jaren off at his school on Monday morning, I was so completely aware of how alone I was. I couldn't even call the people I normally would to make me feel better, because they are either still sleeping, or no longer really talking to me. Sigh.

This is a completely different feeling from Saturday night. Although I spent most of the day going between crying and frustrated screaming at Jaren, with the time before the big First Day dwindling, I nonetheless decided to go to Kait's surprise party. Thank God. It becomes more clear to me every week that I am so lucky to have my fellow corps members. It's comforting when we spend the first few minutes of seeing each other checking in ("Are YOU Unit 1 ready? How's your long-term plan? Is it aligned to the standards? Do you know what the hell is going on here?") and realize that everyone is just as lost but also just as ready to get going. Then there's the traditional dancing (I've danced more this summer than I have in my whole life, and I've loved every second of it). And finally, as everyone starts to leave between midnight and 1 a.m., there iss the best part - "Have a good Monday!" 'We are going to be awesome, we totally have this," "Let me know how Monday goes, but don't worry, it will be great!" There's so much comfort when you know that all of these people are diving into that really cold pool along with you Monday, and, more than everyone you've tried to explain this to over the last 3 months, they know EXACTLY what's happening. They know how crazy, how daring, how important, how scary, how time-consuming, and how fulfilling this mission is.

Jaren and I had our doubts again Monday morning. Here's a picture. Me in my red cardigan, white crochet-neck tank top and seersucker skirt (the perfect first day outfit) nervously slamming dishes into the dishwasher at 6:30 a.m. and scoffing toward Jaren (who is in his button up shirt and tiny bright blue boxer briefs, ironing his pants) "You know?! Only WE would pick this. I couldn't just stay in Arizona and sit behind a desk writing for a newspaper and hating life." Jaren responds, "Of course, we couldn't do it the easy way."

It definitely hasn't been easy these 3 days. I'm exhausted. I'm hoping it gets better and this is just the first week crazies. It's good to hear other people are getting 5 hours of sleep while cutting out endless supplies of nametags and copying unending parent surveys as well. The only good thing: the kids. My 18 amazing 4 year olds who have already surprised me. My favorite little girl (all attitude and allergies) who cracks me up every day. The three boys who took SUCH good care of the baby dolls in the dramatic play center on Tuesday. The little angel who is silent nearly all day except when we ask her to say her name for the class, at which point she says the WHOLE thing, first, middle, last, in a sing-song voice. At the end of the day, I at least get to smile. No matter how badly the whole lesson plan goes.

So, as part of my own assignment, here it is. The good: the kids loved reading No David and started to read along. Good predictive text. They respond better to a lesson when a book is involved that they can connect to, such as No David and our lesson on rules. They understood freezing at an activity when they hear the bell.

The bad: not enough activities planned for the first 2 days. I started to just feel like a drill sergeant. I need to explain things in shorter bits - I include too many directions or unclear monologues. They have no idea what a line is. They can line UP. But it all falls apart as soon as the kids start moving. I need to practice going through the school and find a way for them to stay in the formation. Maybe an assigned place in line?

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