Thursday, August 13, 2009

First Day Fever

No, it's not that. We don't have the swine flu yet in Hillmomba. But we had the first day of school, and I can only shout loudly from the rooftops that the school year is almost over, you know! Only 173 more days to go! That will pass in the blink of an eye.

The honeymoon is ON! My kids were very good today, even my large 7th hour class of freshmen plus one senior and one sophomore. I told them they might break my career record of never having a good 7th hour class, except for one flukish semester last year when it was almost pleasant. I'm willing to meet them halfway. I'm actually a kind of benign, entertaining old curmudgeon with a cold, cold heart--as long as they are respectful. I can bend, but I will break them once they cross me. I forewarned them.

My biology class this year only has 18 students. 18, people! Not 28!!! All but three of them have had the pleasure of doing time in Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's classroom before. We are sympatico. For example, I stepped into the room after the bell, greeted them, and said I was putting them in a seating chart. "No! No, you can't do that, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom! We'll be good." So I told them: "I'm putting you in a seating chart because that's how I roll. But I WILL take this first day of school and go over my rules for these people new to me, and we will not do an assignment." That tickled their fancy. One young man said, "Great. That's what I was going to bargain for." See. These kids know me. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not averse to bargaining to keep the peace. With peace comes greater learning. Energy is not wasted on opposing sides trying to gain the upper hand. Will it really matter on graduation night that one time Mrs. Hillbilly Mom did not give her biology class an assignment on the first day of school? I think not.

The #1 son said that I was not the worst teacher he had today, and that, in fact, he was quite pleased that I did not single him out and pick on him or ask him to run errands for me. In fact, when I read off the seating chart, I said, "#1 Hillbilly. Hmm...we might be related. We have the same name." I needed papers taken to the office, and chose a lad some might term a troublemaker. He's good with me until his actions prover otherwise.

All in all, thought my knees are aching from standing so long and traipsing outside for fire and earthquake drills, it was a gold-star first day.

But it was only the first day.

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