My first day was underwhelming.
I could list all the things I would do differently, and all the things that were out of my control that affected things, and go on and on and on. But I won’t. I just don’t feel like it.
Instead I’ll just say that the biggest letdown for today was my own too-high expectations. I remember the community that we built in each of my four classes last year. By the end of the year, it was a crazy joy to go to each of my classes. I seriously cared about every single one of my students more than I thought I could.  That’s my last memory of teaching. I forgot that I don’t get that at the beginning of the year. The class clown hasn’t come out. Students don’t know how they’re allowed to act in class, what I expect of them. I still don’t know what they expect from me. I’m having a real hard time reading them. That stuff comes with time.
I totally forgot. I totally forgot that it takes time for a group of individuals to become a class.
 Ah, selective memory and the idealization and whitewashing that comes with time!
Don’t sweat it… the teacher has a lot to do with how the class turns out. Your students may be different – you are not (at least not substantially, I imagine). The classes will get there. (I kind of felt the same way about my Geometry Honors classes this year.)
I gotta tell you Sam, this doesn’t sound like all that bad a first day.
@Jake: It wasn’t a bad first day. Just underwhelming.
Thanks for reminding me about this before my first day. Maybe I can be saved from your fate.
I am curious to know whether you went through the 2x^2 + 56x – 1 completing the square drill or not. I would think that it’s best not to attempt too much real math on the first day, but go through philosophy, raison d’etre, etc. – nothing too overwhelming. I would let my students basically know that I am pretty cool even thought a math teacher by having the latest gadgets, that I ride a motorcycle, listen to music, watch certain shows, know the street jargon for things, and other relational stuff to demonstrate that I am really one of them in a way, but that I can be stern about getting the job done in a disciplined way. I know you do too and is one reason you are successful is by minimizing geek and maximizing cool, however those things are perceived these days.
My first day was the same way- it’s a week later and they are really getting more personality now… still nervous, but personable!
I sympathize! I miss my kids from last year! Who are all these strangers?