Words can't describe the nervousness I felt on that first day, but underneath all that I knew that God was with me. I knew that I could never be enough for these 80 children, but I felt a deep assurance that the Holy Spirit would equip me for this purpose that He has called me to.
That first day, I fell in love with my kids, even the unruly and shockingly immature freshmen. I talked way too long about my expectations, but they forgave me after I laughed at myself for breaking my own rule about not talking too much. I believe they heard my most important messages:
- Intelligence is not fixed. When you work hard and apply your mind, your intelligence grows.
- In my classroom, we will respect each other. We all have a voice, and when any of us shares our thoughts, the rest of us will honor that courage by listening. We will never, ever laugh at each other.
- Every day starts with a clean slate. I won't hold yesterday's mistakes against you, and I hope that you will extend that same grace to me, because I will need it sometimes.
- Warm, affectionate greetings from many of my new students each day, and shy smiles from a few others.
- Open, honest communication during disciplinary conferences with a handful of students. I think these were the start of some rich relationships. It has given me great joy to keep my promise to extend grace.
- Working hard to capture their attention, and succeeding. During my dramatic reading of the French short story, "The Necklace," one student commented that I probably ought to be an actress.
- Turning a boring standardized test practice worksheet into a riveting competition in Kahoot, an online quiz game. I couldn't believe how competitive they were!
- Meticulously planning an intricate group assignment on pre-writing for an expository essay, and watching it unfold flawlessly. Some of the groups collaborated beautifully, and others struggled but managed to work through their conflicts. All of them turned in some quality work, and I was thrilled to hear rich academic discourse as they wrestled with categorizing the ideas that they had brainstormed.
|I re-purposed last year's family calendar to cover|
my cabinet with the people I love. Seeing their smiling
faces gives me such joy each day.