Welcome to first grade!
It’s been a busy couple of weeks since my family and I returned from our trip and it was all focused around getting ready for this day — the beginning of a new journey with a new group of children and families.
I’ve spent hours preparing lessons and getting the classroom ready, but despite all of that preparation time, I didn’t really know what it would be like. I think my difficulty envisioning my lessons is the interesting by-product of having spent 5 years in a classroom with the same group of students. Every summer when I prepared the curriculum for the new year, I could so easily imagine how it would go and what the students would connect with. By the end of 8th grade, my summer imagination of myself presenting lessons in class was pretty darn accurate.
But this summer, starting with a new group, I found myself wading about in curriculum materials waiting for inspiration to take hold. I talked to my colleagues endlessly. I meditated on the children. I went back to the books and I planned my lessons. But still, the details were fuzzy and that vision wasn’t clear.
Until this morning.
All along I kind of suspected that once I got with the children I would be able to respond to them and it would come more easily. I am so glad that suspicion has proven true!
I’ll share more about our lessons and some of the habits and routines we’re getting going in our class in future posts, but this one is all about the first day. Our school holds the traditional Waldorf Rose Ceremony to welcome the new 1st graders to the school.
It was so sweet to see these new little ones with their buddies.
I was taken aback when I watched last year’s 7th graders, who I know and love, come in as big 8th graders. They do grow up, don’t they? They sweetly met their buddies and everyone was so excited. By the end, the first graders were asking when we were going to have more time with our buddies!
The Rose Ceremony
After a little get-to-know-you time, we went down to the performance space where the whole school was waiting for the rose ceremony assembly. As first graders’ names were announced, they stood, walked to the center, met their buddies and walked out of the hall together.
Our first day was a bit topsy-turvy because the local fires have caused poor air quality and we had to have recess inside. The students were so excited and energetic about the first day that this assembly had an enthusiastic and light-hearted energy. The buddies expressed that beautifully.
And then my friend and colleague “welcomed” me, the “new” first grade teacher to the school. After years teaching the class ahead of hers, it was a special moment to recognize her as the teacher of the oldest class, while I’m just beginning with mine.
After the ceremony the 1st and 8th graders came up to the 1st grade classroom, read books and spent some time together.
I came home at 3pm completely exhausted! I underestimated the drain of working with those little ones. It takes a lot of energy to mindfully guide them every minute!
As tired as I was, though, I couldn’t wait to sit down with my lesson book and do some tweaking. I’m so glad to have the children right in front of me now so I can craft my lessons out of my observation and intuition!
Tomorrow’s going to be a great day, but I’m sure I’ll be just as tired.