“Life itself is the proper binge.” Julia Child
I’m sure Ms. Child wasn’t writing about teaching, but based on how I’m feeling tonight, she certainly could have experienced the type of day I had. I feel wondrously full — and happy to have binged at the table of teaching. I’m heading to bed soon (won’t make my “in bed by 10 p.m.” goal again tonight but that’s just how it is), but felt compelled to make a few comments in this blog. Many of you have sent your “good luck” wishes — thanks for keeping me in mind on this first day back in the classroom. While it’s hard to imagine any teacher here would need luck, it felt good knowing your thoughts and good wishes were blanketing me throughout the day.
I’d like to introduce you to a few first day pleasures, including the glorious orchids given to me by my 7th grade teaching colleague, Stephanie. Meet Mr. Arleth (better known as Brian), who’s my very young and clever teaching partner and collaborator. I’ve already gleaned insight — and teaching savvy — from our side-by-side work. Also, meet the 12 eighth graders who comprise my homebase “class.” A few of these kids are also in my RLA classes, but these dozen kids meet with me daily as part of our commitment to deepening relationships with and among the teachers and students. We meet for 20 minutes every morning for attendance, the daily bulletin, team building, problem solving, and fun. One additional photo offers a glimpse into my classroom — table groupings and one wall of bookshelves (I’ve lined three walls with bookshelves and have filled almost all of them with YA literature). There’s literally a book for every reader here. Now I just have to make that connection. So, this is my teaching/learning “home” right now, and it’s populated with gifted teachers, kids (and parents) who expect a high standard of teaching, and a cadre of administrators like none I’ve worked with in my life. Relationships matter at SAS. This has been played out every day since I’ve arrived. Just this morning the superintendent poked his head into my classroom before the kids arrived to wish me a good day. The MS assistant principal “in charge” of 8th grade stopped by at day’s end to chat briefly about the first day. The expectations here are high — for teachers and students — but we’ve been given the materials, entrusted with our professionalism, and cloaked with enormous respect. It’s a lot easier to binge on teaching when support is high.