Miss Understood- The Journey of a First Year Teach

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 05 2012

First Day! Hooray!

So today was my first day of teaching. I can honestly say that it went well. I have 4 students thus far. I am sure the number will increase. The students have different interests and career goals that should make the journey and interesting one.

When I first arrived at the school, I can’t say that I was nervous because it felt natural. I certainly didn’t feel overwhelmed or stressed, which is a good thing. Rather, I was overjoyed and comfortable with being a 6th grade teacher at Timbuktu. In the weeks preceding the first day, the reality that I was a teacher and would soon have students came and went. This occurrence certainly helped me to adjust on the first day.

As I walked to the gym to meet my students, they all looked really cute. No cheesiness, but honestly they did. They were all dressed in uniforms, some with books in their hands, others with an empty/full bookbag. In total they appeared somewhat ready for school. As I shook each of their hands, I saw each student as a canvas waiting to be filled in with more knowledge, words, correction and guidance. And I was one of the lucky ones to do the filling in/painting.

One of the first students I met was, let’s call her ‘Amanda.’ She had natural hair and was standing alone, so I walked up to her to start a conversation. I did this so that she could feel more comfortable being in the environment. “How long have you been natural?,” I asked. I believe she said since this week. Prior to her natural hair, she had a variety of colors that wouldn’t be school appropriate.  That got her to open up. As I continued asking her personal questions, she revealed that she was shy and nervous about making friends.

So cute right? I mean, ALL of us as living breathing people want to be loved, cared for and appreciated by others.

She also told me that she has been bullied in her other school. When she reported it to the teacher, nothing was done and the bullying continued. I felt so calm and confident about responding to her. In the week prior to the school, I had a mini revelation about bullying, where I learned that the problem never rests with the person being bullied, but the person doing the bullying. Based off of that I was able to share with her that she shouldn’t feel as though her being bullied was her fault. Rather, there is something wrong with the person bullying her, otherwise he wouldn’t spend time making someone else’s life miserable.

As a person who has been bullied, this revelation would have been helpful to know. When someone is picking on you or in my case demanding/threatening you to pay the .10cents every day, for taking an icy out of their pack back that you never did, you can’t help but place the blame on yourself.  Before leaving our discussion, I helped introduce her to some of her classmates. It started off rocky, but hopefully down the road, the path will be smooth.

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