Monday, August 20, 2012

first day of school

I survived my first day of high school all over again.  It wasn't quite as scary, intimidating or nerve wracking as it was last time, but it came pretty close. It's funny, though, this high school seemed exactly like my high school.  I couldn't tell that it was the lowest performing high school in Florida.  The kids were behaved like the kids in my high school, the teachers were just as enthusiastic and dedicated as my teachers were, and the building was kind of shaped like my high school.  I don't know if that reflects poorly on Kempsville or makes Jackson look really good, but either way, it's the truth.

The day started out with morning greeting outside of the school.  We didn't sing or cheer like the CMs in the elementary schools do, but we said good morning to every student that walked by.  I was surprised at how many students actually said good morning.  Eye contact was an added bonus, but almost all of them said good morning.

Since I'm in a social studies class, the ages of the students range, more so than in the English classes.  In fact, I have a research class of all seniors.  These were the students that I started the day with and they were the worst behaved.  There were a couple of students who just talked to each other and another who just got out of his seat when he wanted.  They didn't want to go over the syllabus, knew all of the school rules already, and were more focused on their schedules and seeing their friends than anything that the teacher could have said. I completely understand where they were coming from, but it was still crazy.  I just kept thinking that if that was how the whole year was going to be, I would lose it.

Luckily, it wasn't. The day got significantly calmer and better after that.  We had all ninth and tenth graders after that who were much quieter, calmer and well-behaved.  Maybe they were just nervous and intimidated, or maybe they actually are better behaved.  Whatever the reason, it was almost smooth sailing from there. Besides the usual talkers and show offs, it was nothing too exciting.  The kids were actually somewhat interested in who I was and I even got a few questions. I tried to talk to a girl when they went to lunch and she seemed mildly interested in talking to me, which was more than I expected.

My teacher was great throughout the entire day. He is laid back and seems like he'll relate well to the students, but he doesn't seem like he'd be afraid to lay down the law if he needed to.  Instead of having them fill out a basic info sheet, he turned it into a Facebook profile, which was cool.  He was also really good about keeping me in the loop about what his plan was when the class went longer than scheduled or the students finished ahead of time. We also kind of quickly debriefed in the hallway between classes, which was nice to get his perspective.

It's so different from first grade, though. Last year, I probably got about ten hugs within the first half hour of being there.  Now, I'm begging for a conversation.  The school is so different also.  There are no sign ins, demerits, or merits. There's just a lot of redirecting.  I missed Michael, Jadanies, Jahnelle, Khaymare and Brandon more than ever today.  I was looking in my classes today trying to pick out the kids that I thought would be the next Brandon and Khaymare. I don't know which ones they were, but I'm hopeful that they're out there.  They've got to be.

“while we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.”