My classroom just before the first day of school, circa 2018.
I will meet all my students today. One hundred and forty teenagers, of which I only know a handful of them. That means I must find a way to memorize over a hundred names as quickly as possible, or I'll get a roll of the eye or a sigh.
Although I've been teaching for nine years, I still want to be my best that first day. You want to make a good first impression, you want to set a positive tone, and you want to learn the names as quickly as possible. When those new kids walk in, it will feel weird not seeing my students from last year not fill their old seats. But I know they are off to bigger and better things, whether they chose college, the workforce, the military, or just moved up a grade for the lowerclassman.
Each school year brings its own set of ups and downs. I like to think that my students become my extended family, even after they're gone. We go through so much in a year, and I hope that my influence helps them for the better. Some of my fondest moments have happened right there in classroom B111.
There will be plenty of moments I will be stressed this year, but for as many stressful ones, there will be ones that I will be filled with joy. I also need to breathe because I can only do so much. I can only give so much. I can only learn names so fast.
I have so many students that I wonder what they're doing now. I've had some that have come back and visited me with a smile plastered on their faces, giving me the good news of their successful times in college or their budding careers.
Like every year, I'll get all kinds of students this year with a whole host of personalities, backgrounds, learning levels, behaviors, and needs. What they all have in common is that they are teenagers. They are human beings. And if I treat them as human beings, they will see me.
People don't ask for much, really. They want respect. They want to be treated like they matter because they do. We all do. Yet, somewhere after childhood, we lose sight of that. To see how people should treat each other, see how children interact. Rediscover your innocence.
Anyway, I realize this has been somewhat of a tangent post, but these are the things that I am pushing to the front of my mind as I go into school today because if I am not mentally strong, I cannot get these kids ready for their future. Forget about learning their names. I'll never even be able to teach them.
To search for Kevin Patrick Kenealy’s latest thriller, Neighborhood Watch, peruse either Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore in Forest Park, Barbara’s Bookstore in Orland Square Mall, Anderson’s Bookshop in Downers Grove, or The Book Dragon in Stockton-on-Tees, England. You can also buy direct from my website here: https://www.kevinpatrickkenealy.com/author