Today was my first day of third grade. I saw a lot of students walking around with their brand new first day of school outfit, fresh haircuts and tanned faces. Some were instantly chatting away with their friends they hadn’t seen since the beginning of June. Others had death grips on their mom’s skirt, not wanting to enter the classroom. I saw bright eyes, smiling faces and students ready for the coming school year. And best of all, I heard many say how excited they were for third grade.
I remember almost every first day of school. I remember the nervous anticipation before getting to meet my teacher. I remember how much planning I put into my first day of school outfit. I remember the smell of the school hallways after a summer of disuse and how much I loved the smell of new school supplies. I remember the excitement of going to the store to find the perfect folder and matching notebook. I remember the butterflies I had every time I woke up because I was so excited to see my friends again. I remember the smell and feel of the hot grass on the playground, running around with my friends and playing games during recess. I remember opening my lunchbox and blushing because my mom wrote a note on my napkin. And I remember how much I loved learning and going to school.
These memories have all been coming back to me the past few days, as I met my students and their parents, sorted through their school supplies and watched them play during recess. I woke up this morning with butterflies in my stomach because I was so nervous about teaching my first real day of school. My heart beat hard right before my students entered the classroom, as I anxiously waited for them to get there, not knowing how to greet them. And I ran around like a crazy woman before they came in, making sure my classroom looked just right.
But then the first student entered and everything fell into place. The nerves went away, and the love for my students hit hard and strong. I felt like I had already taught them for years, as I proudly listened to them share about their summer, come up with the classroom expectations, and ask when they could start taking books home to read. I enjoyed watching them interact with their friends, as they caught up on a whole summer’s worth of exciting events, and how enthusiastic they were for the new school year. From the minute the first student entered, I remembered the reason I became a teacher, which was because these kids need someone who will fight for them, push them to be their best and show them the love that they deserve.
So yes, I may jokingly say that I survived my first day of teaching. But in reality, it was the best first day of school I have ever had. I know not every day is going to be phenomenal. In fact, there will be days I simply survive, but I do know that as I grow and learn how to be a teacher, that every day I know I am where I am supposed to be.
Teaching is a work of heart, and I am glad God gave me the heart to teach.