We were back to school today and it's been lovely. Cold. Very cold. But lovely. And I don't just mean the snow flurries outside my classroom window.
I was feeling guilty this morning when a friend said "I'm excited to see the students but I'm not excited for the work."
Oh yeah, the students.
Somehow, in this five-plus week long vacation combining Christmas, New Year, and Chinese New Year, I'd forgotten about the students. Only once in my escapades through North America (ok, really just the greater Philadelphia area) did I think about those fabulous 150 kids waiting for me when I came back to 中国. And this morning, when the alarm went off, they were the farthest from my mind. I could only think of the work awaiting in my frozen classroom---a bitter 5 degrees Celsius. But today was the first day of the Renaissance in AP Art History, and two lovely classes of fifth graders and third graders spent their lessons peacefully drawing. We learned to grid cartoons and to draw 3D solids (the cake lesson), going step-by-step on the whiteboard and in their sketchbooks. 5th grade enjoyed some Mat Kearney tunes as they drew. And we chatted about break and how I colored my hair and how I sound like one student's mom (note to self: tame down the sarcasm with this sassy but sweet third grader) and how their sister painted cakes when she was in 3rd grade.
Tomorrow includes new lessons. Not the comfort of today's lessons, but the excitement of clay looms for radial weavings and all the kinks we are sure to hit along the way.
And my TA is updating the bulletin boards. I took down this year's illuminated manuscripts and he's putting up paper cuts in honor of Chinese New Year (created with 1st through 5th grade when he subbed for me back in November, while I was at a curriculum meeting in another city).
But tonight, I am just glad to be able to say, in all sincerity, my first day back was lovely. It's good to be back.