Class, there is a new person here today, and I hope that you’ll make her feel welcome. Please be patient with her if she doesn’t remember all of your names within the first lesson of the day. She’ll get there if you give her some time. And if she asks for directions because she doesn’t know her way around the school grounds yet, please be polite about showing her the way. And when she tries to initiate conversations so she can get to know you better, it really helps when you cooperate. She may look like she knows what she’s doing, but that’s only because it’s her job to make you feel comfortable and as though you’re in capable hands. You see, class, there is a new person here today, and that new person is . . . me.
Ah, your first day at a new school. The feeling never changes. Honestly, it doesn’t, not even when you’re the teacher. I wrote these words two years ago, in a previous post. At the time I had just begun my relief teaching season. I felt the strangeness of continually walking into a classroom with 20-30 little people who knew how the school day ran much better than I did, even though I was expected to be the one leading them.
Now, a couple of years down the line, I find myself in the same position again. I will be beginning my contract in three weeks, and the school year has already begun. My students already have routines in place and know their way around much better than I do. Of course, the difference is that I will only need to go through this experience one more time, and then I will be in the same class each day. So I will embrace the ‘nervous-excited first day of school feeling’ that I have, keeping calm and composed on the outside. Though parents may hover and students may stare, I’ll make the most of each moment. And when I stumble out of the car upon arriving home at the end of the day with my hair all frizzy and stains on my clothes that came from who-knows-where and the sounds of ‘Mrs T, Mrs T’ echoing in my head once again, I can relax knowing that I’ve started something new, and that the first day is always the hardest.