Tag Archives: first day of school

The Big Five-0

3 Sep

I started school on the Tuesday after Labour Day in 1969.

I’ve been going to school for 50 years!

I was four years old, a December baby, and it was the days when the kindergarten cut-off was December 31st.

My kindergarten school picture – dress sewn by Mom 

I was super excited about school and insisted Mom teach me how to write my name before we started because I thought that was something I was already supposed to know.

I only found out many years later that, because I was such a shy and introverted child, my parents had considered keeping me home an extra year to mature. They sent me to school that first day with my twin sister, hoping I’d be OK. Fortunately, it worked out and I thrived at school.

So, here I am, 50 years later, still excited about the first day of school. I hope everyone who comes into my class thrives the way I did in Miss Belyea’s class. I know some kids won’t be quite as excited, and that some parents might be worried, like my parents were. I will do my best to be as good for them as Miss Belyea was for me.

First day follies

28 Aug

“Can I help you find a room?” I asked the sparkly clean but perplexed 6th grader who was wandering the halls at a strange time.

He pulled out the paper with his new schedule, transliterated from computerese into sixth-gradish. “I’m looking for Mr. Nelson’s room,” he said pointing to the class he was looking for.

“Oh, his room is there, ” I replied pointing, “but that class isn’t now. You should be in the gym for PE.”

“But I just came from there,” he said, brow wrinkled.

“Just go back and tell Mr. V you should be there now. He’ll understand. It’s why  only 6th graders come on the first day,” I said encouragingly, and smiled.

Off he went.

And then he was back.

This time, though, I had my elective class was in my room. I brought the young man in and we began what looked like a “Who’s on first” comedy routine.

In the end, we figured it out. He’d gotten a bit ahead of the schedule, so I sent him on his way. I saw him later, coming out of Mr. Nelson’s room at the right time.

“How’s it going?” I asked.

“I got this now!” he replied over his shoulder as he walked confidently down the hall to his next elective.


What to wear

27 Aug

I can’t say that I’ve spent the whole weekend thinking about what to wear today, the first day of school. I can say that I have given it more than just a passing thought. I was planning on wearing a skirt, but it looks as though I will have tp participate in a game at the “Welcome 6th graders” assembly. Although there is little chance I will fall @$$ over teakettle and expose myself, I believe it is better to be safe than sorry.

A teacher’s first day outfit needs to send a couple of messages:

  • I am professional
  • I know my stuff
  • I am fun
  • I care about you

I am sure there are students out there, getting ready for their first day of school thinking thoughts similar to mine. There are some who have given it no thought at all. There also others whose mother will make the decision for them.

First day of school clothing gets me thinking about Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan. This is the book I snorted over at the TCRWP institute two weeks ago.


Willow, the main character, makes a poor choice about her first day outfit, although she uses flawless logic to come to her decision. To her mother’s credit, although she knows Willow’s choice is a poor one, she lets her wear it.

Another book that gets me thinking about back-to-school is All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson. Imogene’s descriptions of her teachers on the first day made me crack up.


Happy first day to students and colleagues starting today, to those who have already started, and to those who have yet to start.

First Day Jitters

5 Sep

I tossed and turned all night last night.

The night before, I dreamed I was doing something with Queen Elizabeth.  The details escape me, but it was more stressful than pleasant.

Friday night, I had an honest to goodness first day nightmare.

I am nervous and excited, even though this is my 29th first day of school as a teacher and my 48th total!

I am grateful to have found a job I love.

I am grateful for colleagues who work together. I eat lunch every day with my teammates and the 6th grade Humanities team are a model of  professional collaboration.

I am grateful to teach in an air-conditioned building. Temperatures are projected to reach 100ºF and the air smells of the forest fire burning 50 miles away. Portland Public, with mostly older buildings without AC, is ending school two hours early today because of the heat and air quality.

Whether you have already started, or start today, I wish you a wonderful 2017-18 school year.




The 2014-15 Numbers: A Slice of Life Story

2 Sep


Today, I return to the regular classroom, so I thought it would be fun to look at some stats.

26  years I have been a teacher

6     years since I’ve been a classroom teacher

22   number of students in my class

12   boys in my class

10  girls in my class

4     kids on an IEP

13   ESL students

8    speak English at home

10  speak Spanish at home

3    speak Nepalese at home

1    speaks Pashto at home

12 met or exceeded the 3rd grade Math/Reading benchmarks

12 did not meet  the 3rd grade Math/Reading benchmarks

I know most of the kids in my class, some better than others. All were at our school last year, a school where 85% receive free/reduced lunch. We also have 9 new teachers and 12 new staff, if I have counted correctly.

I don’t know exactly what this year will bring but I am ready to embark on this new adventure. Wish me luck!


Summer’s almost over…sigh!

20 Aug

It’s a good thing I love my job, otherwise this time of year would be horrid.  I don;t think the kids realize that teachers get anxious about the start of a new school year, just like they do.

Although it is written for a young audience,  Oliver and His Alligator really captures that nervous beginning of the year feeling.


Oliver’s strategy for dealing with his fear is having his alligator eat all scary things, both living and non-living. He just says “munch, munch” and they disappear into the alligator. I wish I had this power sometimes.

Eventually, alone in the room, Oliver hears laughter coming from inside the alligator and decides to join the fun. This book could be a catalyst to talking about times kids confronted their fears or to talk about their own first day jitters.

Schmid’s illustrations, like those in his previous book,  Perfectly Percy, are soft, friendly and very appealing.

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