Give me syllabus or give me death.

Okay, it wasn't exactly like that but it was pretty close. I have always been and will always be a syllabus junkie. The only thing on my mind during that first class meeting was getting my mitts on that precious piece of paper. Sure, it was nice knowing what textbooks we were going to be using and when the exams were scheduled to be given but that wasn't my main reason for showing up. What I really needed to know was the breakdown of the grades. I couldn't wait to see what percentage of my grade was based on homework, tests, and finals. I would even spend a little time calculating various scenarios and what score I would need to get on the final and still pass the class based upon my hypothetically earning perfect scores on everything else. And then came college and that fun little exercise became more of a survival skill because the everything else wasn't necessarily made up of perfect scores. More like barely passing scores. Oh how the mighty had fallen.

The first day of school as a middle school math teacher was almost like running a forty-three minute sprint six times in a row. There was so much to get done in such a relatively short amount of time. Take attendance, assign seats, go over class rules and expectations, distribute texts for the year, hand out course syllabi (35% for homework/classwork and 65% for tests), be both serious and funny, teach an abbreviated lesson and then assign homework. I believed that it was important to establish my class routine as early as day one hence the homework the first night. I will never get over the pre-class jitters I would feel in the pit of my belly the moments before that first bell would ring as I wondered whether or not I still could bring my A-game to Room 36. Man, I miss those days.

And then you have Emma. Even though she is set to begin pre-school next week, she has already had the opportunity to attend classes for the past two weeks. On her first day of pre-school a couple weeks ago, Fehmeen observed this little Emma-ism in person when she picked her up. As the majority of the class was gathered around the teacher on the carpet for story time, Emma was seated on a chair next to a little boy who was suffering from the effects of too much saliva. There she was wiping the drool from his chin as soon as it would appear, just like she does with her daddy at home.

No matter how hard you look, you won't find that on any syllabus.

About the Author

Jason Picetti

Jason Picetti lived life with ALS by six simple words: Speech and movement compromised, spirit unaffected. He died on October 2011.

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