Not even the most well-designed and sparkly lunchbox could have emotionally prepared me for my first week of school. I guess what works as a kid doesn't always translate to adulthood. :) Here you will find stories from my first week, but I also give you some flashbacks that span my whole first term -- January through June.
Once I was accepted into the New York City Teaching Fellows, I was given the opportunity to start in an earlier class (in January 2002), rather than starting in June. The earlier cohort (around 30 of us) would all be assigned to Special Ed classes. Even though I thought I would be starting my training during the summer, I was excited by the prospect of serving New York City's most "needy" population of students. The program was intense and time-consuming, but for the purposes of this post, I will merely offer you flashes of my experience. A scene here, a scene there...flashes of what was most striking to me.
Flash 1: Our date with destiny. I mean...the principal.
After a few weeks of training, we were all assigned to specific schools within District 75 ("the Special Ed District). Along with two of my fellow cohort members, I was placed in a school in the North Bronx that had a few different sites. During our first day there, we met with the principal and we observed classes. Our meeting with the principal looked like this:
Principal: So, I'd like to get to know you...talk a little bit about your experience, where you came from, etc.
Me + Cohort friends: Blah blah blah good stuff blah blah blah...
Principal: Great, and what are your hobbies? What do you like to do when you're not at work?
Cohort friend 1: I am really interested in computers. I like to surf online, learn new programs, etc.
Cohort friend 2: I am into literature and reading.
Me: I like to cook, but I am into anything that involves making things by hand -- I like drawing, photo, art.
........and POOF! Just like that....