Today I had lunch with three students who graduated last year. It was a great change of pace and cool to catch up with what they’re doing now. I found out about their new jobs, their newfound college stress levels and how their college English classes are treating them. We also reminisced about our first day of class together four years ago when they were in 10th grade.
I told them directly that their first day of 10th grade English scared me. They were intense young women and I hadn’t had students that were that direct on the first day (in my whole YEAR of teaching ;)). I distinctly remember this encounter that day:
Me: “Don’t you know you should be nice on the first day?”
Student: “Why lie to you now?”
Needless to say I let them know today that I was worried. I had just taken over the teaching position for their ninth grade teacher who they loved. (She left the teaching position. She left me her classroom, her files, her books on her bookshelf and prepared me for her students. Fun fact: we are also both white, brunettes with freckles.) I knew they were testing me, and I wasn’t so sure I was going to pass. Throughout the rest of that year I learned to appreciate their directness and love their classtime. They let me know today that during the period after our first encounter, they proclaimed me ‘cool’. I didn’t let them call me the past teacher name and I gave it right back to them when they threw nonsense at me (I don’t remember that part, I remember wanting to cry my way back to my old school.). It was a great lunch that helped me see a whole new perspective on events in my classroom.