The first week of school is such an exciting time—full of hopes, dreams, innovation, and fresh starts. I found myself chuckling throughout the week as I mentally compiled a list of things that are part of our common experience in education during those magical first days.

You might be in the first week of school if:

  1. You and your bladder are in negotiations as you try to navigate your new classroom schedule.
  2. You go home every night with a hoarse voice, and by Friday, it’s down to a dull, froggy mumble.
  3. You are asleep by 7 p.m. on the first Friday night, completely wiped out to the point that even your eyebrows are exhausted.
  4. Your new dress rips under your armpit as you stand on your tippy-toes and reach up high to hang yet another anchor chart. (Yes, this did happen. And of course, my fifth graders were more than happy to point it out.)
  5. You realize that you are not in good enough shape to teach. Time to hit the gym.
  6. You catch yourself giving your dogs step-by-step procedures for how to go outside correctly and what their expectations are.
  7. You lose five pounds because you forgot that as a teacher, you are on the constant move. Lose the teacher’s chair. It’s not needed.
  8. You realize that the teacher’s desk is really non-essential. Its best use is a reward for good classroom behavior and as a large perch for your coffee cup.
  9. Speaking of coffee, you decide that, yes, you do need a coffee pot in your classroom.
  10. 10. Your spouse is wondering why there are numerous credit card charges to Barnes and Noble, Target, and your local teacher supply store.
  11. 11. You start squirreling away toilet paper rolls, empty milk jugs, and old pickle jars. You have a thousand ideas for how to use them.
  12. You ask your friends and family to squirrel away said “treasures” as well.
  13. You pull over on the side of the road to rescue old bookshelves that someone had the audacity to throw away. Your students will love them.
  14. You wake up on Saturday at 7 a.m., worried (mistakenly) that you are late for school. Not able to go back to sleep, you get up and work on lesson plans.
  15. Your friends wonder where you are and why you fell off the face of the earth.

To all my teachers, school staff, administrators, and those who do their best every day to make a difference in the lives of our children—thanks for all that you do! I hope you had a happy first week of school. And I hope you are getting some much needed rest as well.

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