Read Related: Preparing Your Kid for Back to SchoolAs it was, I was at a disadvantage, coming in mid-year as a replacement for a teacher who had gone on to another job. A stutter or a misstep would brand me as an amateur; a smooth introduction would help me gain control of my students.
First day jitters? I spent hours preparing for my first day of school: choosing just the right outfit, sorting and re-sorting my newly-purchased supplies, carefully honing my greeting, researching the course curriculum—and sweating buckets! I wasn’t a kindergartner about to let go of my mami’s hand for the first time. I wasn’t a freshman about to step through the doors of high school. I wasn’t even a transfer student about to brave strange surroundings. I was a new teacher about to face my first class. And—I’ll admit it—I was nervous. On that inaugural day, I was set to meet more than 150 students, freshmen and seniors spread over five class periods. My all-important first impression would set the tone not just for the all-important first day, but for the rest of the year. Veteran teachers had urged me to go in tough, showing no mercy – or at least no softness. Being too nice on the first day would lead to classroom misbehavior and lack of control, they warned. Of course, that just sent my already fluttering butterflies into a tailspin.