My daughter has this wonderful book called First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg. Mr. Hartwell repeatedly tries to get Sarah out of bed to go to school. It is her first day in her new school. She hides under her covers. She comes up with all kinds of excuses as to why she isn’t well enough to go. Mr. Hartwell keeps saying “You’ll make new friends. The other kids will love you.” As Mr. Harwell pulls up to the new school, Sarah is greeted by her new Principal. Mrs. Burton walks Sarah to her new class, and low and behold, the new girl is really the teacher.
But unlike Mrs. Sarah Jane Hartwell, I was excited to go to school today. I was excited to meet the rest of the gang. But there is a bit of fear and trepidation in all of the introductions. First, the Upper School meeting started with the “newbies” introducing themselves in front of what seemed like 70ish people. I, unfortunately, placed myself at the end of the line. Each introduction got progressively more complex, more funny, more intelligent. What was I to do? Should I sing it? Should I do a little dance? I decided to do it in German. “Ich bin Kathleen. Ich bin ein Stuttgarter.”
Later on was the whole staff meeting. Here hundreds of people attended. I was introduced yet again, but this time there were gifts! I love surprises! I was given a bright pink Hello Kitty Schultute filled with all kinds of love: fine chocolate, gummy bears, pretzels, Jäger, Rittersport.
Throughout the day I was subjected to more introductions, more protocols, more items to add to my already growing to-do list. At the end of the day a returning colleague asked me… “So are you starting to feel like a part of the furniture yet?” I responded with, “Give me a few days, almost there.” At some point you cease to be overwhelmed…you are uber-whelmed. And at this stage you must just breathe and let go.
I will not get it all correct tomorrow when I greet my 6th graders. I will forget that super important thing that I am supposed to remember to mention. I will not direct the new student to the correct room on Wednesday. I will mess up their names. I will exit the stairwell and end up in a completely new part of the school I have never been to and then be late for my class. But you know…Es egal! Alles gut! Go with the flow.
The students will enter my class, officially, on Wednesday. We will get to know each other. We will introduce ourselves. We will begin. No need to see the end of the road, we just need to take that first step together.