I was cleaning off my desk in my office at home and came across my class pictures since I have started teaching. I looked through them, remembering things about different students and wondering where they are now. My first group of first graders should have graduated this spring. I say should have, because, well, you know...it doesn't always end up that way.
I started thinking about my first year teaching. I was lucky enough to get my job when California was going through class-size reduction. All 1st thru 3rd classes were going 20-1. And, the district I am in had just opened a new school so they needed teachers to go to the old school. I was hired 3 days after I graduated college (in another state, but my parents lived here) and had less than 2 months to go til I started teaching. Like any new teacher, I went and spent a small fortune on school stuff from the teacher store and spent all the time I had getting my classroom ready. This included moving all the supplies out of my room for the 2nd grade team (since they were in that room the year before, I had to get rid of it they said) and then wait for the horrible custodian to bring me the stuff from the old first grade room (which he never did and I am working with said horrible custodian again...what a waste of a paycheck...that will be another post!). My mom and I actually moved all the stuff from the other room into my room and I got as set up as I could. What did I nkow about getting a classroom ready? Obviously nothing now that I look back on it!
I remember my first day I was scared to death. I stood in my parents kitchen and cried to my mom, wondering what I was doing. I felt prepared to teach the curriculum, knowing I had a good college education, but it was the kids and actually working with them. I had student taught in 3rd grade and had no idea what to do with 1st graders. It was a lot of trial and error, but it went pretty well.
My team of teachers was interesting. There were 6 of us. 4 of us were new to the school and 2 of us were brand new teachers. The 4 veteran teachers kind of stayed to themselves and would help us when needed. One of the teachers, who was the copy queen of the school, would copy me class sets of books, papers, etc. that she would use. It came in handy the first few weeks, but then I started to get the hang of it.
Eventually the year wokred out OK. My kids made huge progress in reading and math and were really ready for second grade. There are always those students who don't get it for whatever reason, but most of them went on to do well. I did have something like 36 kids in and out that year. 13 kids were in my room from day 1 and the rest came and went, some as soon as the next day. When the school they were supposed to go to was full, they sent them to another one and then called them back when they had an opening. That was fun!
I hear horror stories of peoples first year of teaching. I can't say I have those. I think I did well by my students. Was I perfect? No, but I don't think anyone is ever perfect. I am always wokring on making things better and doing things differently. If I ever am perfect, then I think it's time to do something else.
Now that a new year is coming soon, I think back to all my first days and hope that this one goes just as well as all the others and even better!