Today was my first day back at work after my eight weeks of heaven sent maternity leave.
It didn't feel a thing like the "first day of school"- which I think I actually like. The kids were way past the "we're on our best behavior stage" and instead brought out their "I don't have my notebook" "I don't want to listen to you" and "I am 30 minutes late for class" behavior. It's all the same to me. I'd rather skip the games and trying-to-impress-you stage anyway. It's like skipping the first month of a relationship- the gloves are off.
The hardest part of the day was, undoubtedly, leaving June at daycare. My school has a daycare program so June gets to stay just downstairs while I teach American Literature upstairs. It's a perfect set up and I feel so lucky to have that available to me, which is why I think it surprised me that it was still so hard to leave her.
She couldn't have cared less, obviously. She was passed out cold at 7:00 am when Greg and I dropped her off. (We work at the same school! What a dream!) The lady in charge of daycare listened to all my instructions, was nice as can be and said "okay, come down to see her any time. We'll be just fine." We said thank you, you're awesome, we really appreciate it, see you soon.
But still, we lingered. Tucked the blanket around her one extra time. Kissed her cheek. Double and triple checked that her pacifier was in her diaper bag. Found ways to stall.
Finally, we left. In the hallway, surrounded by sixteen year olds on their way to class, Greg admitted it was much harder than he thought it would be to leave her. I agreed and tried to hold back the tears.
From there on out, though, it was smooth sailing. Ish. I am teaching three classes of American Literature- nothing but juniors, baby. Juniors are my jam. I love the age group, (not as clueless as sophomores, not as bored as seniors) and I love the books we teach. Of Mice and Men! Great Gatsby! Catcher in the Rye!
I had been told by my substitute that first period was quite a handful, which is unusual as far as first periods go. Usually they are all still half asleep. But this first period must have been totally oblivious to the fact that it was only 8 am. They were wired and hopping. Jumping off the walls. There's about six class clowns who are all trying to compete with each other for title of most annoying class clown. It was stiff competition, too, I'll tell you! When I asked one smartie why he didn't have a notebook he replied, "You said in the disclosure that you expected us all to work as hard as you. Well you didn't even show up the first three weeks, and so I figured I didn't have to do any work either."
"You have a doctor cut your body in half and pull a baby out of you and then you can leave your notebook at home all you want." I replied. It shut him up, but only momentarily. By the time the class was over I had asked him and one other smarty pants to do the rest of their work out in the hall for the day. That's a record for day one!
Second period was much better. When I asked if they had any questions they asked what my daughter's name is and if I was recovering okay. Much different from first period who asked why I had to be such a Nazi about my cell phone policy. (Their words not mine.)
Then it was lunch and a sweet reunion with many of my coworkers. I even got to sit by Greg. Wow, what a life, huh? My friend asked why I got ham and potatoes leftovers for lunch and Greg got mini frozen pizzas and I said that's the way Greg prefers it. Nothing in the world as tasty to him as good old frozen food, no matter how much I try to sway him.
After lunch it was my favorite part of the day- June time! I snuck right on down to the daycare and rocked her in a nursing chair while I fed her. She seemed totally oblivious to the fact I'd been gone all morning and was only interested in my offering of milk. That's babies for you.
The bell rang and I hurried upstairs to teach my last class. Fourth period went off without a hitch and before I knew it, the day was over, my first successful school day of the year in the books.
It was so fun to be in the classroom again. I just love to teach. It's in my blood, and I don't know if I'll ever be able to quit it. And gosh I love those kids, even with their sassypants, notebook-forgetting ways.
That being said, one of the best parts of my day was knowing that the next day I would get to stay home and cuddle my baby all day.
Yo ho, yo ho, a part time life for me!