The Stars Are Shifting: Change is a Comin’


Yesterday, I received a “Back-to-School Sale” flier in the mail.

And I panicked.

Because although I have spent a good 19 years out of my 25 in school, this “Back-to School”  will be different.

This year, I will be teaching.


And the Summer is almost over!


A week from today, my dad and I will begin a cross-country road trip to move me and all of my worldly goods to the California coast.

Three weeks from yesterday, I will begin Teacher In-Service, where I will presumably be told what a teacher does.

One month from tomorrow, I will greet my little Fifth Grade students, stand in front of a classroom, and teach.


I am excited.





The moment I accepted the job, everyone began to tell me horror stories and overload me with “good” advice.

Example: “Never cry! They sense fear, and will NEVER respect you EVER again. And then they will make fun of you.”

It hadn’t even crossed my mind that I might cry. Do teachers cry in front of students? Whatever for?

As a homeschooled child, I am rather confused by the role of teachers to begin with. What exactly do they do? Just stand up front and talk? Don’t the books teach everything all ready? How do teachers organize time? Give assignments? What goes on in a typical classroom? How does one write on a blackboard?

When I was in school, I would read my chapter, do the assigned practice work, hand it to my mom to be graded, and move on to the next subject. Until High School, I was finished with all my work before lunchtime, and could spend the rest of the day reading.

In college, I transitioned to the lecture/group discussion/seminar learning style fairly easily.

But college level seminars do not seem to be applicable to Fifth Grade.

Fortunately, this school is a small, private academy, and they seem to really take care of their teachers. Already I have been sent various books on the practical management of classrooms, lesson plans, and basic life. And all the kids seem friendly and engaged.



Step 1.) Build a Teacher Wardrobe. It IS all about the clothes. Thank Heaven for my friend/personal style guru V over at classroomlaundry. (Which is soon to morph into a Teacher Fashion Blog!)

Step 2.) Project Confidence.

Step 3.) Confidence.



I am leaving the graduate school environment, a wonderful community, good, good friends, and the comfort of my cozy apartment to go to California.

Which is, apparently, full of Californians. Who knew?

I’m scared.

And I am considering dying my hair blonde, in an effort to fit in. What do you think?

Actually, now that I think about it, some of my good friends are from California. The aforementioned V is, and so is David from The Warden’s Walk.

I will survive!


It will be a huge change for me, the shy, little, homeschooled Midwesterner, and full of many challenges and (I trust!) blessings.

Hopefully it will occasion many more amusing, insightful, delectable tales for me to tell here.

But if I disappear for a while, call for help and send me a bottle of emergency Scotch.

Thank you. You will be saving my life.


And pray that my first day does not look like this!


6 thoughts on “The Stars Are Shifting: Change is a Comin’

  1. With the financial situation in California, it’s almost like you’re moving to Europe. A formerly grand place that has been run down by massive doses of socialism and financial mismanagement. Except without the history, art and architecture and with more violent and well-armed gangs.

    😀 I kid! I kid! Mostly.

    Best of luck!

    • Oh, I know. Just shopping for living quarters left me sore. It is absurd.

      But, it is a job.

      But . . . . California! I don’t wanna go!

      • Yeah…it is kinda like that. Oh we do have tons of history (hundreds of Indian tribes, Spain, Mexico, the Bear Flag Republic, Gold Rush, the Great Earthquake/San Francisco Fire, etcetera), though, and some good art (even on the walls of San Quentin State Penitentiary, actually), and lots of interesting architecture (Frank Lloyd Wright!). Plus, redwoods. It’s all about the redwoods.

        So it’s a cool place. Not as cool as Europe would be to us, culturally speaking, but it’s got its pluses. And you’re going to one of the better places, as I hear, though I haven’t verified it personally.

        But just remember: California is HUGE and the south is culturally very different from the north, and both are different from the “cow counties,” and all are very different from the far north. And never call it Cali to our faces. And never refer to San Francisco as “San Fran” or “Frisco.”

        But as for the teaching — I’m really excited for you! Fifth grade was my best year before high school. I had an awesome teacher named Dawn under whose tutelgate I discovered the best books, learned how to write my own stories, and generally was inspired for life. And you’re definitely the kind who will inspire kids like she did.

        Cheers, and Godspeed!

  2. David – Thank you for your encouragement! I am looking forward to the ocean and the hills and the prettiness of California. Sadly, I think I will be too far from the redwoods. But I will visit them before I die, for sure!

    I don’t remember anything from fifth grade. What do fifth graders do? What do they read? I am getting excited about the fun things I can do with them, but I am not sure what is age appropriate. What specific books or activities did this wondrous Dawn do with you?

    Heap – I would promise that I won’t, but I am not entirely sure what that means. Elaborate, please?

    • When I was in 5th grade, I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (for the first time! How did I not encounter it earlier?); Island of the Blue Dolphins; From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler; and we conjugated verbs and diagrammed sentences and generally figured out a bit of how the English language works.

      Not sure if that necessarily *is* age-appropriate, since my elementary education never ever felt challenging. But it’s a start, yes?

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