I always say that the best part of my summer job as a camp director is bearing witness to the moment that a child falls in love with camp. It is, truly, a magical moment.
The other amazing part (and privilege) is watching that child grow up and bearing witness to the change he or she has upon the rest of the world.
This is Katie. She is the human, of course. I'm sure I have clearer, better pictures of Katie, but this just happens to be one of my favorite pictures of her because I think it encompasses who she truly is and has always been: loving, kind, and generous.
And, tomorrow, she'll be a second grade teacher. An incredible second grade teacher, I might add.
So, my Katie-did, as you begin your very first day in this new career, I want you to remember something.
You are more equipped for success than 90% of the teachers in the field. You have lived with your classrooms for years, surrounded by a tribe of dirty-faced, question-filled, needy (and sometimes whiny) children for weeks at a time. You've taught them to chop vegetables and cook over an open fire. You've hiked and played and explored and prolem-solved in the 110 degree heat. You've held the hands of countless homesick children, dried their tears, and found a place for them to belong. You've explained the multi-step mysteries of the shower to dozens of clueless 7 year-olds.
Reading and fractions can't be much more difficult.
Tomorrow, seventeen tiny faces will stream through your classroom door. You will probably not feel ready, but believe me, little one, you are. You've been ready for this since the first day I met you.
Tomorrow will fly by before you know it. As a teacher, your life will be filled with a great number of "first days of school", but you will only have one first "first day". Savor it. Whether things go perfectly (they won't) or completely fall apart (they won't), it will be a day unlike any other. And this is the beauty of teaching... every day, every moment, is a brand new chance for the best day ever.
Those 17 faces? They will wear you out. They may drive you crazy, even. Remember: that's every kid's job. So what do you do? Love them. Be kind to them. Be generous with your time and attention and spirit. I know you will because that's who you are, sweet friend. It's who you've always been, and they are going to adore you for it. They will be, I predict, the luckiest 2nd graders in the state of Oklahoma.
Have the best, most wondrous, first "first day" ever, Ms. Krambeer. And then, maybe a drink and a nap. You're gonna need it.
I love you, kiddo, and I'm so very, very proud of you.