My First Day of High School

This blog post will give the most accurate description as I remember my first day of high school. I often share this story with my students to demonstrate how I am human and have made a few blunders. In no way am I trying to exaggerate or fluff the story. This is as it was….

As most people know, I am the sixth of eight daughters in my family. I am the only daughter to have the opportunity/choice to attend Notre Dame Academy in Green Bay WI. I agreed to pay my parents my summers earnings (which did NOT cover the costs) in return for the possibility to learn French and be different from my sisters. I cannot tell you how many times teachers would say to me as I entered their classroom…”OH NO! Not another HUTCHISON!” Whether they loved my sisters or not, it was a different pressure. Either my sisters were terribly smart and bored in the classroom or they just did not enjoy my awesome sisters!  To this day, I try very hard to never talk about siblings in class unless the student initiates the conversation.

Tracing back to my first day at Notre Dame, it is important to know that I did not really know anyone or where I was going or what was the expectation? I was a scared Freshman.

Notre Dame did have a dress code. We were to wear skirts (1/2 inch above the knee) and were able to wear pants too with button down shirts tucked in! So,  for my first day, I had my tan pleated skirt 1/2 inch above the knee with my green embroidered polo tucked in perfectly! As I am walking into school, I notice that no one is wearing the dress code. Everyone is in shorts, flip flops and trendy tops. I am mortified. Another “upperclassman” looks at me and says…”FROSH”  I want to hide but continue in my journey.

First hour goes fine with Mrs. Mueller. She’s a bit old and scary but seems to keep the class glued to her attention. Bell rings….Darn. I can’t remember my locker combination. I have to go to the office. Finally, I get almost all of my books and run to class. I am late. I am the only one in the hallway (as I remember). I run to the top of the stairs and see…205. I need to get to 204…I turn right and run into the next classroom. Room 206. Senior English. I am litterally staring at the class unable to move. Somehow, I turn myself around and walk out of the room. Mr. Wok follows me into the hallway and says jokingly, “You can stay if you want. It’s alright with me.” I hear snickers in his classroom.

With my books and notebooks in hand finally I make it to Mr. Geiser’s room. Algebra I. He was a master teacher. He causally told me to sit anywhere….not a big deal. As I am walking to a seat in the back row, a sophomore, trips me. My materials go flying in slow motion. While I am picking up my books, Mr. Geiser is reaming out “Mark” for tripping me. I am now at a point where I want to cry but don’t.  I realize I do not have my Algebra book but Mr. Geiser told me just to share with Lindsay. Thank God. It was a pivotal moment in the day. More importantly, it was a life learning lesson.

In my classroom, on the first day of school, I always try to remember how I felt that day. How did the teachers make me feel? How did students judge me or help me laugh through the day? So many times, teachers are told to not smile or to act a certain way the first day. I really believe it is crucial for our students to see we care about them the minute they walk into our rooms. We know they are human and so are we.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Theresa
    Aug 14, 2010 @ 01:35:23

    Cece this is awesome! I had NO idea about any of it. I plan to take it w/ me the first day when I see my students!! Thanks,


    • profhutch
      Aug 14, 2010 @ 12:41:50

      It was really one of those terrible days that ended up helping me so much with perspective in teaching. I try so hard for Terry not to experience these types of things….but in the process I’m not giving him a chance to grow!

      I hope your inservice goes well!


  2. Jessica Brogley
    Aug 14, 2010 @ 04:58:29

    What a horrific story! I am sure you were glad to have that day finished.

    I agree – sharing stories from our youth does break down a wall between student and teacher. For me that’s been difficult because my past isn’t like theirs. Actually the only students I share my past with are the “alternative” types. I wasn’t a bad kid in school, but my family life was challenging. When the “alt” kids get where I came from, their abrasiveness drops. I feel better too. It’s a win-win.

    And you’re right – it’s so important to practice some sensitivity with teenagers. After all, they might remember it 15 years later! I remember a lot about my teachers, good and bad. As a teacher myself, I hope to leave good memories.

    Oh yeah, by the way…I did this as part of the #30goals challenge. Hope you don’t mind that I’m adopting you as a new blogger. 🙂


  3. profhutch
    Aug 14, 2010 @ 12:37:16

    I’m honored! I do have times where I forget this idea of being sensitive. Every year I do try to think of that first day…keeps me grounded!

    Awesome job on the #30goals. Keeping me motivated too!


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