Today is the first day of school for many. In my classroom, it’s the fourteenth day.
On the first day, they were names and numbers: numbers of desks, notebooks, pens, and stacks of post its. They were levels and test scores. They were that too. They were paper files with pictures of their third-grade selves. They were their former teachers, classrooms, and classmates. They were my imaginary students.
On the fourteenth day, I see a room filled with their faces. I see the way they sit in that chair as they read, and the way they move to the rug. I see them standing as they work on a math problem, and hidden under a desk as they write in their notebook.
On the fourteenth day, I know that he can read just about anything but won’t write. I know she can articulate math reasoning way above her grade level but questions her thinking on the page. I know he rushes through tasks to get to writing his comic. I know she needs quiet and prefers to work alone. I know that this one can’t collaborate with that one, and those two, will work with anyone. Walls have yet to be constructed. Everything shows.
On the fourteenth day, I see pieces of my students’ lives, and I remember my own children at their age. So full of hope and promise.
On the fourteenth day, I see myself, falling ever so slightly in love with this class. Knowing that there is a whole year in front of us. Knowing that we have many mountains ahead. The journey is waiting.
Today is the first day of school for many in this country. One that you’ve been planning for; hopes are high. For those of you who start your school year today, mark the fourteenth day of school on your calendar. It’s like the first day but in technicolor.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life Tuesdays. Read more slices here.