I so love the first day back in school after a break. I can barely sleep the night before as I lay and wonder which students will show up at school: the sleepy ones who aren't accustomed to getting up so early or the rested ones who are too excited to focus on schoolwork.
Today I drove to school and thought of each group. I remembered the years I had to walk desk to desk and grab up kids by the nape of the neck...just to keep them from snoring. I also thought of a return after spring break a couple of years ago. Those students were so distracted I had to fight for attention and eventually gave up.
So today I watched the first wave of students come down the hallway - the sixth graders. Immediately I knew which group had arrived - the sleepy type! They came down the hall in slow motion, like a prepubescent gelatin gradually released from its mold, these kids were sleepwalking out of the gym, down the hallway, and into their homerooms.
Glazed eyes walked by me; I couldn't even grab a hug or get a hello. It was too cute! A sixth grade teacher called for some of us to come look at her class - we peeked in to see twenty-nine little zombies staring straight ahead.
As the day wore on, of course, one by one our students woke up. As I worked with children throughout the day, walking up and down the aisles of the classroom, I noticed my own distraction: my eyes were drawn to the floor. And then I realized - almost every student had on new shoes, gifts from Santa visits during break. New sneakers were everywhere and every color of furry boot you can imagine.
I started thinking about sleepy children in shiny new shoes and got excited about a new year and new possibilities. Happy New Year to teachers and students sleepy and awake. Welcome to a shiny new year!