By Lindsey Sullivan, AmeriCorps Member, Serving at Northwest Elementary School

A couple months ago, I never expected to have a first day of school again, but words can’t begin to describe how happy I am to have had another spectacular one. I felt a spectrum of emotions- nervousness, excitement, confidence and anticipation- all within a 10-hour day. Needless to say I’m exhausted, yet ready to get to work tomorrow and the 178 school days after that.

8:10 a.m. – I met my students for the first time. To be honest, I was almost as nervous as they probably were. I stood at the front of the line not really knowing how to integrate until my Impact Manager walked over and started interacting with the kids. She showed how easy it was to make instant connections so I joined in. I learned a few students’ names and fun things about them within minutes. After overcoming the intimidation of the first impression, I knew the rest of the day was going to go smoothly.

11:20 a.m. – Lunch, recess and special came so quickly after explaining classroom policies and expectations. I was able to meet other students in the third grade and build solid relationships during lunch and recess. My excitement grew as I realized how receptive the students were to my team and me. Northwest Elementary has opened its arms to us, and it feels great starting this partnership on such a positive note.

1:30 p.m. – My students learned about me and my role earlier in the day and began to feel more comfortable with my presence in the classroom. I helped students with spelling and word searches. I was asked how old I was and I told them to guess. I gave them a hint: I just graduated from college. One of my students excitedly exclaimed she knew the answer. “Oh my gosh, of course you’re 30!” At that moment, I knew I was going to have so much fun this year. Kids are so innocent and unfiltered and while we’re teaching them a lot this year, they’ll be reminding us about a lot, too.

2:50 p.m. – My partner teacher and I led our students to where they needed to be for dismissal. There were lots of high fives and high energy. One student told me she couldn’t wait to come to school tomorrow because she loves it and that warmed my heart. I want my students to be excited to learn every day. As I told them to have a good afternoon, I thought about the year ahead: the struggles, the triumphs, the tears, the good grades, the bad days, the power they have to take their education into their own hands with our support. I recognized the quiet confidence in myself that I’d hoped I’d uncover.

To top it all off, I have an amazing team to share my joys with and learn from. I wouldn’t be the leader I am without them…and there’s an entire year ahead. Go Eagles!

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