Pencils, Books, Dirty Looks, & Love for A New Semester

So it’s the first day of school; a time for all the pencils, all the books, and all the student’s dirty looks…

WHICH MEANS I’M SUPER PUMPED FOR THE NEW SEMESTER! I can’t wait to get back into the classroom again; it makes me feel alive, especially when I know I can truly connect with students and help them learn.

But that doesn’t mean that I’m excited about waking up early again. Just the thought of it makes me inexplicably tired and all #WakeMeUpWhenItsOver.

Journey with me, why don’t you, through my thoughts on the first day, starting with that moment when the alarm clock goes off this morning and I’m all:

And then I realize that it’s the first day of school and THAT’S why my ass is up at 6am. But I can only hit snooze about 1.5 times before I actually have to drag myself out of bed and to the shower.

As I stand in the shower, I’m all:

Mostly because I’m up at 6am and I know that I have a small window to leave my apartment before I hit the morning rush hour traffic. Also because I know that, despite feeling like this:

I know that I HAVE to be like:

Don’t get me wrong, though, I really do love teaching. I do not, however, like waking up before 7:30am.

But then I get to campus, and I’m all invigorated and excited and ready for a new semester! The rush of new students, new classrooms, and a new academic journey for these kids is really inspiring! I’m a kid again, and I feel that same wave of excitement and nervousness that they do.

I start to have an inner dialogue with myself that’s all uplifting and Mr. MovieFone about how much I love being back on campus and in a learning environment.

The greatest part of my job is my ability to connect with students and feel like I made a difference in their lives and teach them how to become effective writers and communicators.

But I have to win them over first.

The hardest part about it is that most of the kids come in all “down” because summer is over and the reality of homework and tests and papers is settling in way too fast for their liking. So right off the bat, they’re pretty much like:

Usually, when the first student enters the classroom, they’re all, “YOU’RE our professor?” because I look like I could easily be their classmate.

Doogie Howser, MD.

So I spend approximately 30 seconds on that first day reassuring them that I am, in fact, completely qualified to be standing there before them.

However, there is always that student that’s all,

So that’s always fun. But that student generally ends up being my favorite student because once they realize how AWESOME my class is, they come around.

But it’s hard to acquire their attention on that first day because, you know, it’s all “here’s the syllabus, here’s a little bit about me, here’s my Writing Philosophy, and here are our goals. Let’s talk about you, now,” which totally makes them do this:

Then, I encounter the student that will ALWAYS be late when he/she strolls in with 10 minutes until the end…

… and no matter WHAT day of the week it is, he/she will saunter in, and I’ll just pray that they catch up.

And, of course, during our conversation about how important the ability to write effectively is, I’ll have the students who are all:

I LOVE THAT QUESTION, though, because yes, it is hard! Anything worth it’s salt is going to be hard. It’s an art form, it’s a skill that most don’t even know they need to have as professionals because today it’s all about tweets and status updates and texts and half-assed, grammatically incorrect emails.

I’ll lecture a bit, and some of the students will undoubtedly not be paying attention, but instead be like:

Which then makes me put my Professor Foot down.

“It’s time to learn.”

“It’s time to start the first day of the rest of your lives.”

Usually this comes with a prophetic speech that would move even President Barack Obama (and maybe some wisdom from Beyonce to grab their attentions).

But I will win them over because my enthusiasm for writing and my need to see them succeed will catch them off guard. My love of pop culture, my zany references, and my colorful classroom lectures will grab their attention.

Of course, there will be other things to contend with over the course of the semester. Namely, helping students find that balance between their social lives…

…and maintaining academic standards of excellence.

Because the bottom line is that SCHOOL is in session.

It’s time to kick asses and take names.

It’s time to learn how to write.

It’s time to soak in each other’s awesomeness.

Even though I’m sad that summer has ended …

… especially because I will no longer have my weekends to myself …

This GIF is the biggest crock EVER. Never have I been able to blow off grading papers or prepping or answering student emails for the weekend. EVER. #iHateTheHangoverForThisReason

(because #GradingPapers), I’m READY for a new semester.

I can’t wait to get to know my students! Did I mention that I love teaching? BECAUSE I LOVE IT!!!

BRING IT ON!

(But seriously, when did September happen?)

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