It feels like I’ve been back in the school routine forever, but I’ve only met most of my classes once. It seems like it was ages ago that Molly was here, but it has only been seven days. So before the moment passes me by… here is the account of my first week back at school.
I arrived on my official “first day of work,” said hello, and gave everyone lots of besos. I remembered that I should learn all of the teachers’ names this year. Or at least try.
And after that, you know, taxing introduction, “Come back on Monday,” they said. “It’ll be better for the children to start with you in a fresh week.”
I hardly slept Sunday night, just like before my original first day of school the week prior. At one point, I had a dream in which Molly came into my room, saying “Aesclinn, don’t you have to be at school by now?” I snapped awake. It was 4:30. Back-to-school nerves? Maybe…
I brought a chameleon stuffed animal to first grade class. Ostensibly for the kids, but I needed something to cuddle too.
I asked the kids what it was. “A dinosaur!” Hmmm… “A salamander!” Maybe… “A lizard!” Well… “A dragon!” No… “It’s a chameleon! You know because of his curly tail.”
Did you know that? I had no idea.
They named him Pepito. (I learned later that week when out to lunch with Gaby that Pepito is also the name of a steak sandwich you can get here.)
I asked my first grade students for their names.
“My name is Claudia” (in English), then “I just lost a tooth, look, here” (in Spanish, baring teeth). Then all the other kids chime in: “I lost a tooth too!” “I lost three!” “Me too!” “I lost a hundred!” “I went to the movies this weekend. And then to McDonalds.”
My school is K-12, and last year, roaming the halls of the secondary wing, I was a bit worried about being mistaken for a student.
This year… no longer concerned. Quite the opposite. I am being mistaken for a mother. This has happened twice. Once by a teacher who thought I was waiting to speak to my child in the 2nd grade. And once by a teacher I actually know, who said something about my looking different from the side, as he walked away.
The week went on. Hundreds of pages were ripped out of English notebooks to make desk nametags that will be my saving grace as I contend with learning the names of 500 students. There were lots of introductions, lots of creative interpretations of the pronunciation of my name, several rounds of “If you’re happy and you know it.” I signed up for a Spanish class and joined a gym that shares the same address as my apartment building – it’s that close.
Then the cold that had been sneaking up on me for the last couple of weeks attacked and I had a feverish weekend ending with me losing my voice.
38 weeks of adventure to come.