I just finished editing the Prezi I will be using to introduce myself to you on the first day of school, and I want you to know that it was a tougher job than I had anticipated.
What impression do I, your fearless leader, want to impart upon you on what is probably one of the most important days of a new school year?
The first thing you should know is how important my family is to me.
The fact that I have been married nearly twenty-five years speaks more than any essay I could write. It speaks of much compromise and forgiveness between two people who can, at times, be very different. It speaks of a determination not to give in and become a statistic when the going has been tough over the years. It speaks of commitment to make things work and the celebration of rearing two children, now grown and on their own paths of adulthood. That’s probably not something you’re used to seeing.
As a class, we will need to be forgiving of one another. There will be days when we want to divorce each other. You’ll celebrate the times a substitute comes in, and I’ll probably breath a sigh of relief on the rare occasions I take time off. These breaks will have the bonus effect of making us appreciate one another and, like the Mr. and I are now doing after so many years together, we will, as a class, come together in June and celebrate our achievements…the fact that we stuck things out, even when the path wasn’t easy (think about that long stretch from January to March).
The next thing I want you to know about me is how much I love my children. My Chicky and Rooster mean the world to me, and I go into fully Mama Beast mode if anyone or anything tries to mess with them. They are my heart and undeserved blessings from the Lord. My relationship with them is evidence that someone can be a decent mama despite not having one herself, and that the cycle of dysfunction can be broken. My children represent years spent reading bed time stories together, getting up extra early before school for morning devotions and prayers, and many tears and yelling matches followed by apologies and forgiveness.
These are lessons I want to impart upon you, my students. I want you to know that once you enter my classroom, you will forever be one of my children, and I will be very protective of you. I will not like everything you do, and we will, at times, be dysfunctional. In the end, though, we will be okay. I will not judge you, even when I hold you accountable for your choices. I will always care for you, though, even through rougher days.
In addition to my husband and my children, I want to introduce you to my fur babies, who mean so much to me. Each one has a special story that involves rescue from a kennel or the streets. They were abandoned, left to fend for themselves, or, in Pele’s case, rejected and taken back to the animal shelter. Pele and Molly were selected by us to become members of our family. Gambit, on the other hand, chose us…or rather, he was led by God to a home where he would be given the love he’d been denied for the first year of his life.
I’d also like you to see me as a person outside of my classroom…an actual “human” who does things besides attend parent conferences and write lesson plans. I like to take care of myself by working out at the gym and getting my nails done. I also have hobbies…or rather “sanity savers” like knitting, and you better believe that I’m going to show off a shawl or two just to show you that grannies aren’t the only ones who knit. I’ll extend an open invitation to visit me during lunch for knitting lessons…all supplies provided free of charge thanks to generous donations by my fiber friends. You see, it’s important to learn to relax, despite heavy responsibilities, and enjoy life a little…a lesson I’m only recently learning.
The final thing I want you to know…and probably one that won’t surprise you much given the subject I teach, is how much I love to read. My primary job is to help you graduate by passing the State reading test. To do that, I have a master plan for getting you to love to read. You’ll see a picture of the stack of books I brought home this summer…most of them I read.
I want you to know that I will do just about anything…stand on chairs, sing poorly, and buy lots of books…just to get you to read. Reading saved my life as a child by letting me know that I wasn’t alone in the world. I don’t know how I would have survived teenager-dom without Judy Blume! Today, you have wonderful authors like Neal Shusterman and Jennifer Brown. We’ll all become fast friends.
It is my hope that though my presentation will be filled with laughter and fun, you’ll recognize the underlying messages of love and acceptance. I’m fully aware that some lessons will come to you as the year unfolds…that just as God led Gambit to my home, you also were led to my classroom so I could care for you…nurture you…help fill in some holes in your life, just as a few of my teachers did for me when I was your age.
This is going to be a challenging year for all of us as we adjust to new, tougher standards and a kick-butt reading test in the Spring. I want you to keep your eyes on the prize and always remember the lessons imparted to you by Yours Truly on the first day of school.