Graduating from college and moving into my first apartment with David and my bestie, Laura, feels like a lifetime ago. I remember buying some “grown-up” clothes and playing dress-up and make-believe as we all interviewed for first jobs. The idea of not being a student was so foreign. My only memories in life were of being a student. The cycle of September to June classes and school work and a sweet summer vacay were all any of ever knew. And then, it was done. What do you mean I only get 9 vacation days? What do you mean I only have 4 sick days a year? And staring into adulthood was terrifying! How exactly do I pay an electric bill? Like how does the electric company know where I live and do I have to write them a check? Is a security deposit just a scam to make you give the landlord more money?
Then ten years happened. From thinking that adulthood was awkward and uncomfortable, I now love being a teacher, having a family, and dare I say being an adult. It is funny to think that it has been a decade of adulting in this particular career path. Never could I have imagined art 23 that I would put such firm roots down. I am excited for what’s ahead and for embracing some new and some well-worn mentalities heading into the next ten: Flexibility, Patience, Empathy, Diligence, Laughter, Kindness, Engaging, Contemporary, Real, In-Depth.
Today was my first day back in the classroom with students. It always feels good to start using my teacher muscles again. At 7:15AM I felt nervous about my first class. It was as though I had forgotten how to walk and talk at the same time. Feeling stiff and out of place, I began to think about what it must be like to be a new freshman. At least I had some experience at this school and knew familiar faces. Quickly I sought to snap out of myself and begin doing what I love: engaging students, getting to know them, and getting them started on their work. As soon as they were in their seats the “teacher dust” brushed off and I could feel my old self again and it felt great. Watching them collaborate – even briefly – on the first task was invigorating.
Despite the energy of the day, I left school feeling wiped out. Where had all of my stored up energy from the summer gone? Upon reflection, this wave of fatigue was most likely caused by dehydration. Somehow I had gone the whole day without drinking water! Crazy how once you are in the zone something as simple as drinking water is forgotten. When I picked up David at the T, I was so thankful that he took over the wheel and immediately turned on his “partner role.” I was completely swept up in his love and care. We arrived home and I settled on the couch equipped with a giant ice water and David cooked up a storm. He prepped and cooked us Thai noodles, which are my favorite! I ate a giant bowl in my pjs. Afterwards, he cleaned up. It was perfect. David could read me when he first got in the car and knew exactly how to take care of me after my first day. Finally after being rehydrated and fed, I was able to share stories from the first day of my fifth year of teaching. While I am still tired (I expect to get a good night of sleep) I look forward so much to tomorrow!