First Period, First Day
N.B. Freshly written, but from three weeks ago
First period, first day of the term
classroom is simple
white board, bulletin board
teacher’s desk, tables for the students
individual cubbies serving as lockers
the 12 6th graders have been divided into two groups
for English–I have the top half of the students
(should I say the other teacher gets them from the waist down?)
I’m very nervous
I haven’t been in the classroom for 37 years
there is no textbook
the other teachers say just to use the first day
to get to know the students
I have a game or two in mind
the 6th graders sit politely at their tables
6 of them spread out across the room
each has a well-supplied pencil box
and a notebook with lined paper
“My name is Ibu Cedar.
Cedar in English is a kind of tree.
I’d be happy to tell you anything about me
that you’d like to know. I want to get to know
you too, of course.”
Silence. “What would you like to know?”
Silence. Looooong silence.
“Am I speaking so that you can understand me?”
“Well, let me tell you some things about myself….”
“Now, tell me about you.”
Silence. Long silence.
A few questions
one or two word answers
“Do you understand me?”
“Can you tell me why you won’t talk with me?”
“Let me guess.
“It won’t be good.”
“The words won’t be good enough?”
“It’s really important to you to get it right.”
The class bell rings
We have begun.