My introduction into the teaching profession was rough at best. I was twenty-one years old and fresh out of college when I landed a position teaching elementary music in a northern mining town. I was terrified, but I told myself, “Just get through the first day. You’ll be fine.” Kids had always liked me, and I really had no idea what to expect. Well, the first day turned out to be bedlam in the office and when I went to the school secretary to get my class lists, she was buried under a barrage of parents. She threw a list in my direction and pointed me toward a photocopier. I’ve never been very good with machines and this one was no exception. I hit the “on” switch and impatiently waited for it to warm up. Worried that my class would arrive before me, I quickly made an almost illegible copy and gave the original back to the secretary. My first class was grade six. They were intimidating, to say the least. One kid stood in a corner spinning in circles while another named Brian Good who I later dubbed “Brian Not-So” flexed his Michael Jackson glove in my face to show me how tough he was. Not to be deterred, I called the class to order and began with roll call. To my dismay, when I looked at my list, I could barely make out a name. It took sometime, but I somehow stumbled through it, taking notes about each child’s appearance in an attempt to learn their names quickly. Blonde hair, blue eyes, freckles, etc. By the time we got through the list, the class was quite restless. I somehow stumbled through the first class and made a mental note to go more quickly the next day. The second day turned out worse than the first. One of the boys named Ely had gotten his ear pierced and the class was in chaos with excitement getting the gory details. Terry, who’s name I learned quickly, was still spinning in the corner and Brian Not-So continued flexing his glove ominously.....
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- Written by: Joyce Storey