Smiles and Sweat

It appeared to be a rather inauspicious beginning. One of the first children to walk into my classroom on the first day of school showed off a heavily bandaged finger. “I don’t know if I can write,” he told me. The only explanation I got for the bandage was, “I broke a little piece of my bone off.” Another student walked in, cheerfully sporting a large cast on his arm. I heard something about a ripstick and concrete. Fortunately it was his left arm, and he is right-handed.

Then my carefully-planned first-day-of-school schedule kind of went out the door when one of our buses showed up twenty minutes late (there was a detour because of an accident). Flexibility, I kept telling myself. It must be one of the first words in a teacher’s vocabulary. Also, we managed to start school in the midst of some of the most sweltering, sticky-hot weather of the entire summer, and my classroom is not air-conditioned. It’s not a good sign when you get to school at 7:20 in the morning and find that your classroom temperature is already 84 degrees.


And yet it was a good beginning. I am happy to be back in the classroom. My students are happy to be back, even though some of them probably wouldn’t admit it. So far I’ve only called one student by an older sibling’s name one time. It gets tricky when you’ve taught older siblings of all but three of your students.

Here we are on the first day of school.


If you counted thirteen boys and five girls, you counted correctly. Yes, this makes some interesting dynamics. Of course there was the usual chorus of, “Let’s do a crazy one now!” In little-boy language this basically means, “Let’s fall on a pile and wrestle.”


Boy number thirteen must have fallen off the picture somewhere, because I can only count twelve on here. Adulting tip #101: Make peace with the fact that your life will tend to be a little crazy if it has any number of children in it.