A funny thing happened between my first new teacher orientation in Fayette County in 2002 and the new teacher orientation I attended today. I got old. My first year teaching, I was the youngest teacher in the school. When I taught in Georgia, I was the second youngest teacher in the school. At Willow Hill, I was the youngest teacher for the first six months and the second youngest for the past two-and-a-half years. In Lawrence? I was one of the three or four OLDEST new teachers. How in the world did that happen?
But, despite being one of the oldest new hires (how did I wind up in my thirties?), I know I made the right decision to make the move to Lawrence. I got the statistics about the town during a presentation today (90.4% of the students are on free and reduced lunch, over 30% of them live below the poverty line, and 62.3% of them are from single-family homes). I know this is exactly where I am meant to be. I think there is an amazing opportunity to make a difference in so many lives, and I can’t wait to be a part of that.
My classroom is amazing. I think I’m still in awe at the size of it. For the past three years, I’ve had a room big enough for eight students. This one is big enough for a gazillion! Or thirty… I have a flat screen TV, with a DVD/VCR player and a computer hook-up. I also met up with a returning teacher who helped me claim an LCD projector and document projector (I’m sure there’s an official name for it). I have four student computers in my classroom, ample storage, two teacher desks. It seems silly to be so excited about a classroom, but it’s been five years since I’ve had my own public high school classroom. Those blank walls are ripe with possibility!
My first day of work meant Robbie’s first day back at daycare. He and Zhining were so happy to see each other, and, at the end of the day, Robbie and I were so happy to see each other. I feel like we had some really good play time when we got home, and it was so nice to enjoy all the time I had with him. I’m definitely not meant to be a stay-at-home mom. At first I felt bad about that, like there was something wrong with me as a mother for not being able to enjoy day after day after day home with Robbie. Don’t get me wrong; I loved having my summer with Robbie. We went swimming and on long walks and on road trips. And it was amazing. For three months. But now? I’m excited to have the time to be me again.