I’m wandering down the street in the morning half-light with a street address, little idea of where I’m going, but I’m carrying a great confidence that I’ll find this house with the “green trim”. I’m walking to meet the woman I’m carpooling with to student teaching. I’ve only had a phone conversation with this woman, but she has no idea that she is an answer to prayer for a ride to my placement. A church dear to my heart, comes into view. Its rust colored bricks have welcomed me many times. The bells ring in the steady certainty of the morning. “Laughing” I still don’t know where I’m going–
Maybe I do.
I meet my ride, and realize that we will get along swimmingly. We drive the ten minutes listening to the alternative rock/indie station and trade stories about international adventures. I make a friend.
We arrive, enter the school. We pass through the endless hallways that have been swept and scrubbed spotless to meet the beginning of the school year. The scent of chlorine signals that the middle school pool is nearby. I go back for a moment to the familiarity of nostalgia, to my days on the swim team. A reminder of that world calms me.
Suddenly I’m outside my classroom. There are so many people to meet. There’s the Italian teacher to my right, the assistant principal, and a flurry of faces that I try remember along with their names. This is it. This is it.
The first period is a lot of introduction. Who are the teachers? Who are the students we’ll be teaching? I scan the room, trying to unpack the history of the entire eighth grade with their freckled faces and perhaps a bit overly gelled hair. My mom gave me some advice about this moment. She told me to make seating charts and learn names. My mother is a wise woman–I follow her advice. I spend the next few periods learning names, and my supervising teacher invites me to introduce myself to each class. I tell them I’m their student teacher from Indiana. Indiana is known for basketball and I stand there in three inch heels, explaining that in spite of my incredible height…that I possess no incredible skills in basketball. The kids think that’s funny, even though it’s the first day of school and they’re still in “cool” mode. Later they refer to me as “the basketball player”. I grin, and suddenly the bell is ringing. The entire eighth grade rushes into the hallway in a mess of notebooks, blue backpacks, and pencil cases–the anxiety and happiness of thirteen-year old’s. I smile again. My first day of student teaching has been completed.