Brand new pencils, crayons, markers, boxes of tissues and stacks of notebook paper surround Will Rogers second-graders as they hear a story from their teacher on the first day of school.

Brand new pencils, crayons, markers, boxes of tissues and stacks of notebook paper surround Will Rogers second-graders as they hear a story from their teacher on the first day of school.

“Sarah wanted to stay in bed and not go to school. But it was the first day of school, and even though she was new, she was expected. So, Mr. Hartwell makes her go to school. Then the school principal introduced Sarah as the new teacher, Mrs. Sarah Jane Hartwell.”

So goes the story, “First Day Jitters,” by author Julie Danneberg.

The story’s ending serves as a reminder that students aren’t the only ones who struggle with nervousness on the first day of school.

After teacher Haley Michael, 23, of Shawnee, read the story to her class, she went on to explain that sometimes adults get nervous, too. “I woke up at 4 a.m. this morning because I was so excited to come today. But, when 7:30 a.m. arrived –– when all of you were about to be here –– I got a little nervous,” she said.

This is Michael’s first year teaching a class of her own.

As Michael shared her first-day experience –– and the definition of the word jitters –– to her students, she assured them that people can feel a wide range of emotions when doing something new.

She let the children draw a face that showed how they felt that morning.

Segueing smoothly into the next activity, Michael let her students plot their face pictures onto a chart on the wall.

“We can say things without using our mouths,” she said. “Our chart tells us that 15 students were excited and happy this morning and six were pretty nervous. We have zero students who felt sad this morning and that makes me glad.”

Maybe Michael hasn’t had much facetime in her classroom yet, but she exuded confidence and encouragement as she guided her students through each activity.

“I love manners,” she said as she patiently redirected a child to the task at hand.

Principal Jackie Noble said, “Her mom used to be a teacher in Shawnee. I think Haley’s going to do a great job here.”

Michael said she is used to handling children.

“I’ve been involved in the nursery at my church as long as I can remember. I just fell in love with little guys,” she said. “Teaching feels like my calling.”

Michael said after graduating at Oklahoma Baptist University in May 2013, she was an assistant teacher at Shawnee Early Childhood Center. “When an opening came up at Will Rogers, I went for it,” she said.

Michael said she grew up and went to school in Meeker, but one of her brothers graduated from Shawnee a few years ago and the other one will attend Shawnee High School next year.

She lives in Shawnee with her husband Joshua. He is a worship leader at their church and a warehouse manager at Zipdogg.

 

Give me your story ideas. Contact Vicky O. Misa at (405) 214-3962.