Monday, August 24, 2009

The Quiet

I love the feel of a fresh school year and a fresh classroom. The tables are arranged and chairs are still pushed in. The signs I've taped at each seat have yet to be picked at and drawn on. The markers still draw bright bold strokes and they even all still have caps. Even the white board has been cleared of that residue from ink that wasn't erased soon enough. There's so much promise.

Especially with ninth graders, the students are still fresh and crisp as well. I've already met a lot of them through orientation, so they're still in that place where I know their faces and have seen them smile, but they've yet to divulge their sordid histories of mathematical, academic, and emotional wounds. The only thing I know about them is that each has the potential to be the greatest mathematical genius or the most supportive group member or generally the most awesome kid the world has ever known.

But soon everyone will reveal their true selves. I'll immediately recognize that my five-year old cousin would roll her eyes at D.'s immaturity. I'll agonize over how to ever get S. to do anything ever without first telling me "no." E. will subtly make it known that she thinks she's too smart for my class. I'll find my brand new rulers snapped in half. I'll finally kick a kid out of the room.

Yikes, it sounds like I'm approaching the school year with an all-down-hill-from-here attitude, but I keep reminding myself that the revealing of true selves is what actually makes me like the kids (not so much with the broken rulers, though). Like last year when I found out that L. had never been so proud of her math grade, or when A. would come visit me at lunch even though she'd moved on to Algebra II. The quiet, anxious, peaceful uncertainty of a new year can be so comforting in that there are no labels to place on anyone yet, but in many ways it's those labels that make the classroom complete.


teana said...

here's to a new school year! best of luck to you geetha

SWE said...

It's going to be a great year. And if you need your 5 year old cousin to roll her eyes at D IN PERSON to prove a point, she's free after 12:45 every day. ;-)

Linda said...

What a great description of the beginning of the year--the excitement, the calm, the expectations, and the knowledge that much amusement and joy await you in the coming year. Enjoy.

Liam said...

I hope it turns out great! :)