Saturday, March 19, 2016

First Day of School from 2 Perspectives, 2nd Perspective, Joe Persch

My First Day, 2nd Perspective
By Joe Persch

I resisted the idea at first. I didn’t want to go because I was terrified. I would never have admitted to that a few weeks ago when the idea was first presented to me, though. I think the fear had me in its grips more than anything else. Fear of being lost in the shuffle, of being left out, of being hurt (physically and emotionally), and many others.
    Despite this, I was taken anyway. I fought it as best I could, but it was a lost cause on my part. No amount of kicking, screaming, or biting (yes, I bit. I’m not proud of that one, but I did it) could stop it from happening.
    What I saw when we arrived was nothing short of miraculous. This teacher, this blessed, blessed man, had made his classroom into exactly what I needed. There was a special place set up for everyone, including me. There were things I recognized that helped me feel at home. There were other things I didn’t recognize, but instead of fear, they illicited a desire to know more.
    Books were everywhere, including my favorite. I was placed at my spot on the desk and watched as the children began shuffling into the classroom. It was amazing to see the same fear etched on their faces as I had felt coming in with him that morning. Then watching their faces light up the way I felt when I got a good look around. I couldn’t wait to be introduced. The anticipation and excitement were now unbearable. As if sensing my apprehension, he subtly moved over to the desk and gently patted my head before going back to greet those still shuffling in.
    Once everyone was seated, a bell rang out in the hallway. He immediately shut the door, moved to the front of the classroom and said, “I hate loud noises like that, don’t you guys?” The kids laughed and at that moment, I knew he had them for the year. They would be his young prodigies and would soak up anything he taught them like the little knowledge sponges they were.
    He had told me he would save introducing me for last as he was most excited about me. I really wanted it to happen now and see their faces light up, but I knew it would be even better if we held off a bit longer.
    He started the first day with some exercises. They were simple to be sure, but it helped to get the blood moving, as he said, and get our brain juices flowing. The children really seemed to like this and so they ran in place, did a few jumping jacks, and even stood up on their chairs and screamed as loud as they could for a few seconds. They all seemed to be awake and attentive at this point.
    I wasn’t sure who was more excited, though. Both he and the children had this gleam in their eyes like this was going to be the absolute best experience of their lives. It was amazing to watch. He connected like no one I had ever seen before. Granted, I hadn’t met many people, but based on what I had heard, not many had this ability to connect with children. This was a gift for him and it was mind blowing to see it take place in front of me.
    He went over his class rules, which the kids absolutely loved. Of course, they were too young to get the fight club reference when he told them that the first rule was the same as the second, but that was ok. That’s one of those jokes that would occur to them later in life and would be even better because they would get a new level of understanding of their elementary school teacher.
    Then I heard him announce that he wanted to introduce someone to the classroom. He walked over and picked me up off the desk. The fuzzy green cloth on my body was in stark contrast to the leathery cloth that had been used to make my wings.
    He stood at the front of the class and every single student was staring at me with rapt attention.
    “This is Darigan the Dragon. He is going to be our class mascot! Who knows what a mascot is?” Several kids raised their hands and instead of defining a mascot, they gave examples as they were called on. He listened patiently and then let them know that while they gave him great examples (his favorite of which had been the Philly Fanatic), they hadn’t really told him what a mascot was.
    After explaining what a mascot was, he told them what I represented. Not just what you’d expect either. Sure, he told them I stood for power, strength, and willpower. But he also told them that I stood for magic, wonder, creativity, and reaching for your dreams.
    He went into detail with each one of these points. The kids were hanging on his every word. He then told them how they would be helping to take care of me. This was the real part I had been waiting for.
    With his free hand, he picked up a bright green composition notebook and showed it to the class. He explained how they would each get a turn to take me home for a weekend and would write about their adventures (no matter what they were). They could include pictures, drawings, and anything else they wanted, as long as they wrote something to talk about when they came back on Monday.

    Every single one of them started whispering in hushed excitement. I couldn’t wait to find out what adventures I would have throughout the school year. He had been right. This was definitely going to be the best time of my life.

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