Today, begins the first weekend of the school year. The sun is taking a backseat to the usual clouds and rain and actually, I’m okay with that.
With rest and recovery in mind, we have very few plans for this time. Tomorrow, we have a birthday celebration for my mom so today, my family will stay close to home. All of us would benefit from a bit longer in our pajamas and time spent without a schedule.
I have started a new school year, twenty plus times and each year, I feel a mixture of excitement, responsibility, nerves, and uneasiness. There is a great deal of planning, supplies, learning, and meeting with colleagues to assure that everyone on staff is at their A game. When I get fidgety during one of our training days and my mind begins to wonder about my son or home responsibilities, I am reminded how we bombard our students with new information and expect that they will continue to soak it up until there is no room left.
I took this into consideration while planning the first week of school with my twenty-one first graders.
Like me, they have been used to a schedule where they can eat and use the bathroom whenever it feels right. Like me, they want to visit with their school friends and hear about the summer highlights. Like me, they are a bit overwhelmed by all that is new and will need time to adjust and to see where the connections can be made. Like me, they are learning about those in our classroom community and trying to figure out what their strengths and struggles might be so that lasting relationships can be built.
Yesterday, I read a favorite book to my first graders called Wemberly Worried (Kevin Heinkes). It is a wonderful book about a little girl going to school that is filled with worries. This book gave everyone permission to have worries and to share those worries. Most were worries that I had heard, getting lost on campus or no one to play with at recess. Others were unique to this year, about getting a cast off their arm or a parent returning home safely from a business trip.
There was obvious relief when students saw that they shared the same concerns and the part of the discussion that seemed to relax all my students, was when I shared that I had worries.
Wow! That is an understatement!
Thankfully for them, I didn’t share ALL of my worries. I did share the one that I thought they could understand… I hope that you like me.
I don’t know anyone that hasn’t worried about being liked, or even loved, at some point.
One of my biggest worries of the week, was how my son would integrate himself back into the school culture as a third grader. He was extremely nervous and tried to delay leaving the house on the first day; however, each day when I came home from work, I was met with a happy kid. He was tired, but the first three days, he was able to finish his homework, have dinner, and play without any major meltdown. Because of this, we are cautiously optimistic!