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Wednesday, August 18, 2010


word of the day: shiny \ˈshī-nē\ a.) having a smooth glossy surface b.) bright with the rays of the sun

When I think of the first day of school, the first word that pops into my mind is "shiny."

Everything about the first day of school is shiny. Kids wear shiny, new shoes and shiny, colored belts. They carry shiny backpacks and bring shiny pencil cases to class with them. Their folders, notebooks, pens, and pencils are all equally shiny and unused. Some kids even have shiny smiles that are not necessarily dependent upon braces.

I wore shiny shoes today. They may have given me horrible blisters, but darn it, they were shiny.

That's not the real news, though. The real news is that I made it through my first day of school today.
It wasn't all shiny and "bright with the rays of the sun," but it was right. It was full of the feeling that this profession is what I was wired for. That maybe teaching really is in my blood like my dad has always said.

I have been thinking about my favorite books and television shows lately. A few of my most favorite books include To Kill a Mockingbird, Harry Potter, The Secret Life of Bees, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. My most favorite television show is, without a doubt, So You Think You Can Dance.

Suffice it to say, I am a sucker for anything that involves a "coming of age" story. I'll never tire of reading about Scout learning to walk in someone else's skin or of Lily discovering what love means with the Boatwright sisters. I could read again and again of how Harry, Ron, and Hermione discover true friendship in the halls of Hogwarts. Francie's experience in Brooklyn, while heartbreaking, reminds me that all children grow in different ways. As for So You Think You Can Dance, I was a sucker for Kent, because of how I watched him change and mature throughout the season.

I realized this week that I love all those things for the same reason that I love teaching. I get to experience kids "coming of age" and stepping into the skin of others every day. I get to encourage it. I get to create it. I get to learn from it.

I feel very privileged to be in the position I am in. It's humbling to think about the impact I could potentially have on each one of those kids who brings his or her shiny face into my classroom. It's exciting to think about the journey that we're taking together.

When I left school today, my desk was still shiny and clean. I'm well aware that it won't always be shiny. At some point it will be cluttered with papers. My new Sharpie pens will dull and my notebooks will bend at the edges.

But ultimately, I believe it will all be worth it. The good will mesh with the bad and I'll be a better person because of journey.

I'll be a better teacher because of the journey.

I'll appreciate So You Think You Can Dance more because of the journey. And that's really what it's all about.

Just kidding.


J'nee said...

Love, love, LOVE this post! It's so true how much of an impact we have, and it's amazing to watch them grow!

Rachel said...

Congrats on your first day! Alayna took her shiny new backpack to her first day of preschool this morning..she was so excited! Enjoy your first year teaching...I'm sure you will do great!