Tired, gravelly voice.
And an exhaustion that strangely took up residence between my shoulder blades to radiate down my arms.
Sounds like I had a tough session at the gym or ran a tough race, right?
Who knew the first day of teaching would do this to me?
I've been surrounded by teachers my entire life (my grandpa was a principal, so technically it has been since birth), yet my understanding of all the work they put in was shallow at best.
Even my fingers ache as I type this. Last time they ached like this was after a late night typing my master's thesis. How is that possible after a day at school? I didn't type much yesterday.
I arrived at school just after 7 am, feeling the personal thrill of the first day of school for the first time in many years. I had my packed lunch and new mechanical pencils in my messenger bag and a new skirt around my waist. I bustled around the classroom, getting PowerPoints and video clips queued up, picking scraps up off the floor, and silencing my cell phone after thanking everyone for their Good Luck texts that had been flooding my phone for the past two days.
When the first student walked into the classroom, my stomach flipped in a slightly unpleasant way. I spent more summer hours than I'd like to admit preparing for that moment, and I never thought I'd feel so unprepared. People trust their kids' education to . . . me?
The bells began ringing. And bubbling students wandered in and out, temporarily filling row after row in the classroom.
Words fail me.
Three hours and forty-something minutes of teaching. An all-too-short 25 minute lunch. Then three hours and something more minutes of teaching. Fifteen minutes before my final class ended, the secretary walked into the classroom--my classroom--with flowers from my mom and sisters. That was the moment I felt the tired tears prick my eyes. How could they know that I had secretly hoped someone would send me flowers that first day.
And then the final bell rang. Kids scampered to practices, lessons, homework, and after school jobs. I gathered papers and planners, my computer, and my almost empty lunch box and walked to the car.
I did it. I finished my first day.
The hours of the weekend are already filled. There's got to be time to sit on the couch and watch the Olympics with the family, and of course we'll clean the house on Saturday and go to Church on Sunday.
Mrs. Denton will also need to update her website and email parents and
For the almost 47 years that I've been alive and I haven't properly thanked all of the teachers in my life--thank you. Thank you for the countless hours you invested in me and currently invest in my children. Thank you for the hoarse voices and sore feet and long days. I had no idea how hard your job is, but now I do.
The two words I finally conjured to describe my feelings:
And I get the privilege of doing it again next week. I can't wait, but I really need some sleep first.