Friday, August 26, 2011

New Kid In Class

I started my new job yesterday. When I woke up yesterday morning (early: 5 AM), I was all nerves. I shook while I showered. I could barely eat my breakfast. I broke down in my car after I dropped Lizzie off at daycare (she, of course, was fine). I don't know why I was so scared, this really wasn't that big of a deal.

But, then again, it was.

This is my first real job, my first gig right out of college. I was excited about it, about everything it could become (and I still am excited). I knew I had the job, but will I (I keep thinking) be able to keep it?

What's more, it's never easy being the new person.

I've been the new kid before. We moved to Maine when I was nine and then I covered my fear with a false bravado and an extra strong "Mass-hole" accent.

This time, I had nothing to cover my fear. I had to cross my fingers and hope for the best.

The beauty of working in education, however, is that you're often thrown into a room of women who, regardless of their age, want to mother you. It's like they smell vulnerability and instead of like sharks to blood, it's like mothers to their babies. They want to give you hugs and make sure you have everything you need and explain the same procedure twenty times, then say, "If you have any questions, just ask!"

I knew everything would be okay after yesterday morning. I was able to ease into things slowly. As I walked into the high school cafeteria, I spotted people I knew. My school's principal, the director of special education, who hired me, a teacher from another school I had subbed at who recognized me. When I went to go find a table to eat my fruit cup at (the district does a district-wide breakfast for all staff members at the beginning of the year), a friend of mine from student teaching found me. After a long and much needed hug, she ushered me to her table where she sat with another teacher and two bus drivers. We talked about music and expensive guitars.

I've been very lucky so far. Everyone seems kind and interested at making me feel at home and wanting my work to be important and effective. People are eager to make connections ("Do you know...?"). There are a couple of people from my neck of the woods, including a teacher who I went to high school and college with (though we never crossed paths, oddly enough). It's a comfort to know that we share some of the same people in our lives.

On Monday, assuming the school isn't blown away by Irene, the students arrive and the school year begins in earnest. There will be other new kids coming in, just as nervous as I was (am). They will show it (or not) in lots of different ways, but in the end, it will be the same for all of them. Deep down, they will be hoping for those connections, those new friends to help them through those first days. And I will be there, to help, to facilitate, to be the new kid again right along with them.

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