My First Day (Sort Of)

Yesterday, I began my new job. Sort of.

I was hired on as high school English teacher, but that wasn’t financially doable. At the rate they could afford to pay me for that full-time job that requires a bachelor’s degree and professional certification, I could only afford to do two of the following: eat, live in a building, pay off my student loans.

But I wanted to work here, and they wanted me to work here, so we worked something out. That something that was worked out is the church hired me as a youth minister.

Yesterday, we took 11 students to a diocesan youth rally in Saginaw. It. Was. Amazing.

I won’t comment much on the event itself, though it was very well put together and touched on a lot of needed things (sometimes these types of things tend to just feed on emotions, and there certainly was some of that, but there was also a lot of genuine pieces, such as a discussion on going through grief and depression and how to help yourself or help a friend). What I will talk about is the students.

It happened to be the case that these 11 students are all at my school. Many of them will be in my classroom this coming year. In light of Ruth Ayers’ post this morning, it got me thinking about how I sort of already had that first day with some of them. Some topics of conversation we had included:

What books they liked
That I’ve read the books they like
That I’ve met the authors of some of these books (that is a wonder of things like NCTE and ALA that we sometimes overlook, but it can really captivate the students)
How to make a good confession
How many concussions a student has had and his decision to play football again this year
Current and former students and parents welcoming me back to the school (I taught high school math here previously)
The crazy nature of choosing to pull an all-nighter the day before an all-day event

And on and on and on.

By the end of the day, I was practically in tears with how grateful I was to be back here and how accepted I felt (thought: do we let our students know they’re accepted in our classrooms and in our lives?). I also was grateful for this ability to already lay the ground work for the school year. I know these students now. They know me. We were clearly feeling each other out, and many of my discussion choices were intentional. I want them to go to their friends and say things like “did you know Mr. Wyzlic has read Sarah Dessen?” and “I told Mr. Wyzlic I liked The DaVinci Code, and he gave me another title to read” (inquiring minds: The Book of Blood and Shadow). I want them to know the culture of our classroom is that of reading. And it was an amazing chance to do that.

It’s going to be a good year 🙂


One thought on “My First Day (Sort Of)

  1. I’m so happy you’re “first day” went well, Brian! It sounds like it was a really positive experience for everyone involved 🙂 And I’m glad you wrote this post because I’m getting nervous for my first day in a new classroom, in a new school, with brand new students. I didn’t even think about how much it might mean to them that I know authors, some of whom might be their favorites. Thanks for this.

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