First Day

All day Sunday and Monday morning I kept trying to find it, wracking my brain for the perfect word to describe how I was feeling along the continuum between excited and scared. Or maybe it was really between excited and nervous. Anticipatory? No, that wasn’t quite it. What word captures that feeling? Is there one? It seems like there should be. Some wonderful word in another language, maybe a super long German word or a French phrase or something in Japanese, that encapsulates that feeling of being a little scared, a little anticipatory and a little excited. I kept picturing a Venn diagram with excited on one side. Nervous on the other. What would the label be for that intersecting part?

Finally, while driving in to school, heading back to the primary wing after a six year absence, I created my own word: affizzle. I was all affizzle. Yes. That felt right. It also felt akin to frazzled and flustered, which tracked.

And then my first day of teaching second grade unfolded in vignette after vignette.

Scene 1: A little girl, A, arrives, walked in by her mother, faces wreathed in smiles. Two minutes later, mother has departed and A is standing by my side, tears slowly dripping down her face.

“I want my Mommy.”

As I move to reassure her, another student moves closer.

“Do you want a hug, A?” he asks.

Scene 2: At recess M. asks if I’ll play basketball with him. I agree, but let him know I haven’t played in years and might need some help with the rules.

“I’ll take it easy on you,” he assures me. Then he proceeds to articulately explain the basic rules of the game, accompanying his words with active demonstration.

“I’ll show you the rest as we play,” he assures me.

When I have to bow out after a few minutes due to my supervisory duties, he comments, “So, we can play tomorrow again, right?”

Scene 3: As we play a game of “Taking Sides” I ask kids, “Would you rather eat an apple or a banana?” As the kids move to show their preference, and I step toward the apple area, a student nods knowingly and says to me, “Teachers love apples.”

Scene 4: During Readers’ Workshop, N.’s face lights up. He shoots up his hand and simultaneously announces, “Hey! We’re basically a classroom family.” (Now that’s the kind of blurting I can get behind!)

Scene 5: B. hands me a pink sticky note. “This is a list to help you remember,” she says.

“Oh, thanks!” I take it and read it aloud. “Be kind! Be empathetic!”

I’m a little taken aback. Am I in need of a reminder? I quickly think back through the day. Have I not been kind or empathetic? I ask for feedback to clarify. “So, am I doing okay with this so far?” I ask her, somewhat tentatively. She nods her head vigorously.

“Oh, ok, ” I say, “this is a great reminder list. Thanks!”

Scene 6: At the end of the day V shares, “I was so excited about school starting today that I was all tingly last night and this morning too! My whole body was tingly and I could hardly sleep!” Several students enthusiastically signaled silent agreement.

I think my heart grew two sizes right then and there.

Scene 7: Then C, the morning’s hugger, chimes in, “Before school today, I was in the car. I made a lot of silly faces. And then you know what happened?” He paused then rattled along, “Then I farted in the car.” He paused again and finished with a great big grin, “Because I fart a lot.”

Thanks C. for keeping it real πŸ™‚

Best shirt of the day!

By the end of the day affizzle had faded to fatigue. Still, it was a wonderful first day.

18 thoughts on “First Day

  1. I love the word “affizzle!” It sounds like a wonderful first day! Second grade is awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lainie Levin says:

    This string-of-pearls post. It’s like a bouquet of wildflowers you’ve gathered and picked, just for us. It makes me smile to read all your vignettes from your kiddos today. It’s so real (even the farts!), and so very perfect.

    You know, your first paragraph, when you were talking about going back and forth between feelings…it reminds me of a storyteller friend of mine, who talks about those feelings like a penny. It may have the face side, or the Lincoln Memorial side, but they’re still the same coin. So, too, with fear and excitement. They’re different expressions of the same thing. We can’t have one without knowing it’s rooted somehow in the other. ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Heidi Allum says:

    I smiled as I read this! So much love and joy in those humans, and you captured each voice so well. I feel like I was there listening. I think you did this by stopping at just the right moment, giving the reader just the right amount, before moving on.

    (side note, my small human starts grade 2 next week…eeeekkk!!!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I hope your 2nd grader has a wonderful year! My own children are far past that point and though I adore having adult children, I do sometimes miss their younger selves and those long ago days.

      Like

  4. kd0602 says:

    What a lovely first day! Got to love those second graders. And who doesn’t love “affizzle?” Best wishes for a fabulous school year!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. amyilene says:

    Thank you for this! You are sending me off with the right mindset this morning (although no small people, just two days of PD….but that’s for the smalls, right??)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tabatha says:

    These kids are so great! Love their open hearts. Your response to being given the “be kind” reminder was so good.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. So good to hear. I’d love our four-year-old grandson Brooks to have you as a teacher. The vignettes capture your day wonderfully. And is teaching ever an exhausting profession!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      It’s been great! I’m utterly exhausted though. lol I’m so thankful our district always takes off the Friday before Labor Day! Fake Friday tomorrow πŸ™‚ Yay!

      Like

  8. Dean Clark says:

    You have taken me into the depth of the softest side of humanity. Than you for the journey to the 2nd grade. Dean

    Liked by 1 person

  9. maryleehahn says:

    What a day! You are such a great observer and storyteller!!

    Liked by 1 person

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