Well…that’s almost true. While it is the beginning of the school year and we could be turning to page one, we unfortunately don’t have the set of Art textbooks that we reviewed last Spring because there’s a group of people down in Austin not getting their job done. You may have heard of them. And while we’re at it, there’s a great article in the August issue of Texas Monthly called, “Ten Ways to Fix Texas”. You have to be a subscriber to read content online…so that hyperlink is somewhat of tease. Sorry about that one.
The first three days of school have been outstanding! Granted, we are three days in to a one hundred and eighty day haul; but already, I feel so much more prepared and organized. Last year, I felt like I was drowning in district and campus initiatives and surprise paperwork from the second day of in-service. But so far, it’s just been like, “Oh, right. Need to get that taken care of aaaaaaand…done.” Well, maybe not quite that breezy, but I think you get what I’m saying. The challenge will be to maintain control over everything that last year was the punk-er and is currently the punk-ee.
Surprisingly, there haven’t been many funny stories to come out of these twenty-four or so hours in the classroom. The great moments of hilarity, irony and leathal awkwardness will come after the kids are comfortable being at school again. They’re still getting their feet wet right now. My classroom is as quiet as a sanctuary on a Friday night and every single kid is working harder than a commission-only car salesman. It’s nice. But this isn’t the real them. Give them a couple of weeks and then they’ll start doin’ what they really wanna be doin'; and sayin’ what they’re really thinkin’. It’s a bittersweet pill because as frustrating as getting to know the real them can be, it is also hands-down the best part of my job.
These first days of school (listen to me…talking like I’m such the Veteran) have been so scripted and sterile. As much as I know there will be days that I regret even thinking this: I’m ready for some junk, I’m ready for the randomness, and I’m ready for something unpredictable to happen. That’s what makes a great day or a great moment feel authentic, when it comes immediately after feeling like you’ve had the wind knocked out of you. I’m not complaining about how easy this week has been. No sir ma’am. But I’ll trade it in for the real deal. For being called an Fing racist one day and seeing the same girl’s face light up a couple weeks later when I tell her she would be an incredible graphic designer. Or, for being completely humbled/humiliated when a French girl who doesn’t speak a word of English looks at me like I’m a total idiot for trying to explain to her that Paris is in Texas. These things don’t happen in quiet classrooms. And they don’t happen during the first week of school.