I finished my fourth first day of middle school today. I hated middle school the first time. I went to three of them (thus this is my fourth first day), and you'd think I would have found one that I liked, but no. None. Zero. Today, was different.
I love my classroom. It's beautiful. It's just eclectic enough for me to like it, but subdued enough to be a good learning environment. I didn't get any photos today, because I was holding on for dear life. When I settle into a routine, I'll be sure to take some pictures.
My students seem to be the same level of rowdy as my fifth and sixth graders were (thus far), but today I was much more willing to roll with it. I feel like that may have been because I was definitely the head of my classroom. The other teachers barely said anything, but it was beautiful and it flowed. If discipline needed to happen, it did. If stuff needed to be translated, it was. If I needed to joke with someone beforehand, it happened.
And that's another thing. So far, all of my co-teachers speak flowing, beautiful English. I even explained my pajama dream to the woman who has the desk next to me, and she laughed! She laughed hard! She went so far as to say, "I guess you were very nervous!" I didn't have to explain it any more than I would to a native speaker. Furthermore, Sam, who sits across from me, is SO helpful. He explains everything I have a question about (even when he ran into me on the way home and I was having a bit of trouble ordering dinner). He doesn't know it, but he also made such a HUGE difference between this school and the last one: he closed today by saying, "You did a great job today." Yes, my other co-teachers gave me positive feedback, but I had to ask for it. This was out of the blue, and it was wonderful to hear. Don't get me wrong, I am all for constructive criticism, but the balance goes a long way. He also told me what I most wanted to hear: "The most important thing you can do is be friends with [the students]." He took the pressure off and told me that I'm doing well. What more could you ask for in an office mate?
My students even seem excited to see me! I ran into a couple of them on my way home, and they gave the very classic "Oh!" that means "I recognize you and I wasn't expecting to see you!", and quite eagerly spoke English to me. What strange, parallel universe am I in?
I'm not foolish enough to believe that this isn't tainted by the first day, rose-colored glasses, but I'm very happy with my decision to change schools, so far. :)