Teachers Make the First Day a Success

Teachers Make the First Day a Success

  • Mike McCurry
  • 08/25/16
From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier, August 18, 2016
For the new kindergartner, going to school for the first time was very scary. He didn’t know a single child, and he only met his teachers for the first time that first day of class. There were so many new things to learn. He had to remember the location and number of his big new locker, which was down a long hallway, and far from his homeroom.
To say it was frightening is an understatement. The idea of navigating a new school (and potentially getting lost) was so overwhelming to this 5-year-old child that there were tears and a brief tearing away from mom. She had tears too. Her child was growing up and it was the first time they had been separated for an entire morning.
If you are like most school-age parents, you are ready for the children to go back to the classroom. The bickering and fighting around the house reach full throttle by this point in the summer. On the other hand, It might be a little scary for the parents to send a child off to school for the first time.  Not knowing what to expect can certainly be a little intimidating.
If you are a seasoned veteran, you have come to understand what goes into the preparation of getting them back to school. Shopping for new clothes and a new backpack comes easy for you. Getting the extra shoes for the gym – no problem. It’s the extra admission fee that heats you up. Does anyone (besides me) wonder why our taxes are not enough to cover it all?
From the teacher’s perspective, they’ve been anticipating and preparing for this day for quite some time now. They’ve been busy meeting with administrators, and new families and have been getting their classrooms ready for the pupils. They are working on seat assignments and practicing pronouncing the names of their students. They are cleaning, filling up supplies, organizing bulletin boards, prepping lesson plans, and getting new first-aid kits (hopefully not used on the first day). There are calendars to be filled, and PowerPoint presentations to be made. Many might be rehearsing their first-day speeches so an excellent first impression can be made.
Our experience with the beginning of the school year has been flawless – well, except for last year, when my youngest (with a few other children) was stung by bees while walking too close to a buzzing hive nestled in a tree along the path to school!
Our children have always felt welcome and known by their teachers at Walker and Clarendon Hills Middle School. There appears to be something magical to little ears when they hear their names called out by the teacher as they enter the classroom.
The CHMS principal, Griffin Sonntag recently told me that the teachers were going through a four-day professional development series prior to school starting, including a half-day dedicated to learning about the children attending this year.
We recently had our orientation at CHMS and we could tell that the staff had prepared for us. The school looked great, there were some new lockers and the floor shined like it was brand new.
As for that frightened kindergartner, the first day turned out well after all. The teacher asked one of the more confident boys to let me play with a wooden dumpster truck at recess. The truck became a cherished toy by the boys in my class, and by the middle of the year, the teachers found a way to turn it into a reward for good behavior.

Carousing through a yard sale several years ago, I found a wooden truck just like it on sale for just a few dollars. I would have paid a fortune for it.
After all, it meant so much to me and helped make my first day of school successful.
Mike is a Clarendon Hills resident; husband; Indian Princess; Indian Guide Dad;  a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker.  Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around the area.  It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlights a new business or announces school happenings.  He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting residents and even a little about history. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”.

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