Everyone calls this period the “honeymoon” on purpose. We lay the ground rules for the first few periods we encounter each other, get to know each other a bit, and make connections based on things we might have already observed. From there, we play nice, engaging in a light display of tug-and-pull, a diluted version of tug-of-war, sure to appear sometime later in the episode. Now isn’t the time for that, though. Right now, we’re just understanding the rules of engagement and playing along with them. Some might prefer to stay focused on these rules for the whole first week, but I’m ballsy. Why waste time when I can just demonstrate the rules through actual content?
I’m months away from a real honeymoon. This honeymoon’s about my own students.
The leg up I have on most teachers is that I get a flavor for classes before they even get to push my door handle.While other teachers locked themselves up in their rooms (to plan lessons and grade papers, I assume), I learned some of these classes, their leaders, and some of the knuckleheads that lined up in front of the dean’s office frequently for small to large infractions. When I first found out about the class I’d have in the year, I relished the opportunity. Sure, they had a couple of kids from the previous year. They have a certain character I can’t quite put my finger on yet, but they react well to my new-found enthusiasm for my material.
Part of that comes from agonizing over lesson plans (I highly recommend Math Matters for good activities for lessons) and taking things day by day while keeping an eye on my whole year. Another part of that is that, this time, I’m betting these kids really start out with high expectations for themselves. My job is to assure that they sustain that level for as long as possible. If I plan it right, they’ll get it right. I’m absolutely positive.
And now I know I’m in a honeymoon.
There’s no way in hell this is going to last. Some of the nascent troublemakers will try to pull some things this year, and I’m already starting to see through this facade. How dare they trick me into thinking they actually care about finding a percent of a fraction? Their needing to go to the bathroom will probably go from once a period to one a minute. Glad I even got this much homework last night from them last night because I’m definitely not getting this many in December. I can see them playing their games with other teachers, but not me. Nope. I’m going to keep lesson planning hard and making the class difficult for them.
They even tried to get me to crack a smile today. No sir. I’ll have my arms folded as hard as possible until January, and I better not see any nonsense.
We got 177 or so days left together, and while I trust that they’ll do the best job possible, I’m not meeting my students right now; I’m meeting their early delegates and representatives, hoping to make an impression on me so I get too loose too early. I’m all for enjoying honeymoons because they do have a romantic quality about them, but if my experience has taught me one thing, it’s that honeymoons don’t last forever. We’ll struggle and we’ll fight every so often, but as long as we do it for the betterment of our relationship, I’m all for it.
Until then, maybe I should get in as much of this foundational math as possible. By the time October gets here, I’ll wish I took this all back.
Mr. Vilson, who only saw a few episodes of The Honeymooners … usually after midnight on FOX.