I would normally use a picture that more directly relates to my post’s subject, but I was way too busy to snap pictures today. So here’s a generic shot of the school building.

In the age of project-based learning and the Flipped Classroom, there’s a popular adage that the students should be much more tired at the end of the day than the teachers.

Whoever said that never went through a first day like we had at Research Triangle High School.  And we haven’t even had a class yet.

Today was a “soft open” – it was a combination of the first day of school and an open house.  Students and their parents showed up throughout the day – about three-fourths of them were checked in by noon – and set up their Internet connection, met teachers, got syllabi, and networked with classmates.  And while that open feel made for an upbeat atmosphere, it wore me slap out.

If you’re a teacher, you know how the first day goes: you get up there in front of the kids, hand out the syllabus, and go through your classroom policies dog and pony show.  And you do that three to five times, depending on how many classes you have.  Tiring, but not the worst thing.  Well, with the open house, I did my song-and-dance at least 50 times, probably more.  The sore throat that nearly all teachers experience at the beginning of the year – the vocal chops having deteriorated over the summer – was noticeable and quite annoying by 11 a.m.  It’s nothing some hot tea can’t assuage.

We also had our first-day glitches that exist at any school.  The wireless network became very quickly overloaded, even though our very capable IT chief has loaded the building up with a bazillion access points.  There was also the issue of getting everyone to show up for the first day, a very important factor when you’re a charter school that relies on attendance to receive state funding.

All of those things combined to make today incredibly exhausting, but it was also a lot of fun.  We met a lot of the kids at July’s Meet RTHS Camps, and it was good to see them again; it made me happy when most of them actually remembered my name over a month later.  Parents were quick to offer their support and volunteer to buy us much-needed supplies for our classrooms.  And the sense of community already apparent among our students assures me that we’re going to have a fantastic year.

I’m excited enough that I’ve decided to show up for the last 184 days of the year.  I’m going to have plenty to write about.

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