Today was the first day of school. Even as a teacher, I still kind of get first day jitters. I have to admit I felt calmer this year than any year so far, but as the bell for 1st period rang and students started heading towards my classroom, I admit looking at them with a few butterflies in my tummy (okay and an active baby) and thinking, "I hope they like me. I hope I like them." Despite being at school until 8:30 last night getting ready (thanks to my wonderful hubby for coming to help me finish up) and being up until midnight getting my lesson plan ready for my Honors kids, I even had trouble falling asleep last night.
Anyhow... today was a great day. The kids loved my new classroom. A group of the seniors (the first class I taught at this school) came by at nutrition to see my room and beg to be my service learners for the open periods that they were trying to fill. Lol. It made me feel loved that they are so happy to come back. I love those kids.
The one thing that makes my job unique is the list of concerns I had to address about the glass windows in the front of my classroom....
"Are those bullet proof glass?"
"What if there is a drive by?"
"What are we going to do in a lock down?"
I got at least one of those questions at least once each period. It is true that the entire front of my room is all glass. It makes for a beautiful natural light, so that I didn't even need to turn on the lights once today. However, those beautiful glass windows also cause some concern, and for good reason. Our school is in the middle of an area that 2 years ago became part of the largest gang injunction in Los Angeles, meaning that suspected gang members get served papers by the cops saying that they cannot even be seen together in public in this area, or they can be prosecuted.
Last year alone, I think we were on lock down at least 3 or 4 times (if you don't count the times when there were several in one day). Most of the time, those are for something simple like a suspect being pursued, and and the police just have our campus lock down so that it cannot become a temptation for a hideout. During lock downs, proper procedure is for us to lock the door and get out of view of any windows. Well... my room is all windows. Blinds have been ordered, but for right now, I just told the students that we would split up and go in the storage closet or bathroom. They kind of laughed about that, but I am really, really hoping that there are no lock downs before the blinds come, because that really is my plan, and sometimes these go on for a long time. I really don't want to be stuck in a storage closet with 15 kids for hours. That would really suck.
But... for now, I am happy to be in this sparkling oasis of beauty in a desert of ugliness that is much of Pacoima. My room is beautiful, and the school beautifully landscaped the courtyards surrounding it, and my drama class had a lot of fun and a lot of laughter playing "the blob" today as they ran around the courtyard trying to tag each other. It was a beautiful way to end the day. :-)