I always get nervous right before I enter my classroom for the first time to get ready for the school year. Always. I feel the butterflies and usually have to take a deep breath before crossing the threshold into my class. Weird, huh?
It’s not a new class. It is the same class that I have had for going on 6 years as a teacher. I can describe it like the back of my hand. My desk is in the right-hand corner of the room as you enter. The wall to the right of my desk is filled with artwork. My desk has affirmations taped to it, so that I can remind myself through the day of what I need to remind my students of through the year. I have a fridge and a pencil sharpener, a stapler, and a hole puncher on top of it. My other walls are fairly empty, minus an autograph wall that I set aside for exiting eight grade students. Other than that, it is a pretty non-descript room.
I walk in and there are no smells. But then again, there is a smell. It is the smell of possibility. The smell of hope. The smell of expectation. The smell of newness.
That “new class” smell.
It is the smell where anything is possible.
Over the course of the school year my room becomes filled with so many smells.
There is the “boy who uses too much Axe” smell.
There is the “girl who drowned in perfume” smell.
There is the infamous “gym-STANK” smell.
Then there are the other smells that let you know that there are some real issues going on. And as I’m thinking about it, that smell of newness and hope, of expectation and possibility, sometimes gets drowned out with all of the other smells that come up over the course of a school year. And if I can’t remember this smell right now, then I will get bogged down. I’ll lose momentum. I’ll lose myself, which will ultimately cause me to lose my students.
So, I’ll appreciate this smell right now. I will breathe in deep. I will let the feeling cascade over me, and allow it to build a memory into my neural pathways.
This “new class” smell.