What My First Day of Teaching Was Really Like
I had such high hopes for my first day of teaching.
I chose to teach after having three impactful teachers that gave me the bright idea to choose history as my undergraduate major. Teaching something I loved would be a breeze, right? My first day of teaching would be a slamdunk; I was sure of it.
Then, I started my first day of teaching–at a middle school.
Have you ever met an 8th-grade student? They’re curious beings, ranging in age from 12 to 15 at my school. These kids have tempers and tongues so quick they give you whiplash trying to keep up.
8th graders are going through the most hormonally charged time of their lives, save for menopause or pregnancy. Social studies are not usually high on their list of priorities.
And they didn’t want me there, this adult holding them accountable. I was the bane of most of their existence. Add in family stresses, high levels of poverty, and what do you get?
A first-year teacher who doesn’t know what else to do except pour a cold one.
First Year of Teaching: Day 1
Here’s how my first day of teaching went down.
8:00 a.m.-Nervously greet approximately 25 teenagers. Why do I want them to like me? I don’t want 13-year-old friends…do I?
08:05 a.m.-After being told that SHE can’t sit next to her because SHE dated her ex-boyfriend over the summer, rearrange the seating chart. Accidentally sit two rival gang members next to one another. Give up on a seating chart.
08:08 a.m.-Finally get the day started with introductions and ice-breakers. Response from the classroom indicates that I’ve asked them to pluck their eyelashes. Not interested.
08:25 a.m.-After loosening up, the conversation starts flowing. I ask questions to find out what kind of knowledge my kids are coming in with. “What’s the capital of North Carolina?” I ask, pleased with myself for starting off on an easy question. “HAWAII!” SHE, dater of the ex-boyfriend announces. I die a little inside.
08:28 a.m.-Would it really be so bad to have a mimosa in my coffee mug?
The hours fly by until lunchtime when my students sit with me to find out who exactly they’re dealing with. They were circling their prey, smelling for weakness.
12:19 p.m.- “Mrs. R, how old were you when you stopped being a virgin?”
12:19 p.m.- A mimosa won’t do it. Whiskey will come with me tomorrow.
These Q&As lasted throughout the year. My gentle (and occasional aggressive) reminders didn’t deter these curious kids. These inappropriate quandaries helped my liver die quicker, but they did make the days go by faster.
When I looked deeper, I found that many of my students didn’t have supportive parents. That lack of involvement conveyed into my classroom, which conveyed into my alcohol intake.
Teachers are kind of a special breed, but a PSA: it isn’t for everyone.
It definitely wasn’t for me.
Now, I work in higher education and get friend requests from my students on social media daily.
But, I wouldn’t trade my 8th graders or that first year of teaching for anything.
Even when my drink strength says otherwise.