The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Thursday, August 13, 2015

First Impressions

         Today is the first day of school (with kids). I met five of my students and their families at "Meet the Teacher" night on Tuesday. For the other nine (yes, I only have 14 students so far, which scares me) , today will be the first time they get a chance to start to get to know me.

       One of my students is the sister of a funny student of mine from last year. I don't think she's as quirky as her brother (I like quirky... imagine that!) but her family and I already get along well, which ensures we're going to start the school year off on the right foot. 

       One of my students who I met for the first time on Tuesday is going to be a hoot--I can tell already. Her facial expressions let me know that she is a storyteller. She's got some spunk. She's got a spark. (I appreciate people who have animated faces too--I KNOW, another surprise!)

        I have pencils sharpened. I have the room arranged. And I have a plan.

        I just hope I make the right first impression... I hope I come off as funny, but serious (when it comes to the work at hand)... flexible, but unmoving when it comes to my belief in them... knowledgeable, but oh-so-willing to make mistakes and grow right alongside them.

        I've got a 68,000 word WIP that's sat stagnant for a few weeks. In its first draft form, my first impression of this novel-to-be was,  'It's engaging. The reader will surely connect to the characters. The storyline is clear,' but the first impression was completely off. The shine I saw--at first glance--quickly faded...

        ... And I'm left with reality.

        How much do you rely on first impressions? Is it hard for you to change your opinion after you form a first impression? Do you sometimes have to eat your words after relying too heavily on a first impression? Jump-the-gun minds want to know...  


21 comments:

  1. Sioux,
    I'm sure you'll be a big hit. First impressions? I rely on them more in professional matters than in personal ones. But, I've learned to be careful about not making hasty judgments; it can cause us to potentially lose out on some quality connections. Remind me to tell you a story here...:-)

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    1. Jen--I can't wait to hear that tale...

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  2. Why on earth does the idea of 14 students scare you? That sounds heavenly to me! I've learned never to trust first impressions. People are good at pretending and life requires ongoing revision.

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    1. Tammy--14 scares me, because I'm afraid they're going to combine classes and I'll end up with a full classroom. That small number IS heavenly, and this group seems like an incredible group of kids.

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  3. First impressions? Sometimes, you just know. Like when I met my Hick, for instance. There he was lolling about the apartment complex pool. I looked into his eyes, well, EYE, because he just has the one, you know, actually he has two, but only sees out of one...and I knew he was the man for me. Maybe one day I'll write about it. But it's much more fun to write about his everyday antics.

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    1. Val--You took one look and you knew you had found a man who could craft a sword shack... a man who could outwit a goat as he created something so the goat couldn't get its horns stuck in the fence anymore... a man who loved to hang plastic milk crates onto the outside of the house.

      It sounds like that is a story that SHOULD be told...

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  4. I'm on my third marriage. I'm hoping third impressions work.

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  5. Joeh--I'm on my second. I'm keeping my fingers crossed...

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  6. Gosh, I hope I've lived long enough to learn my lesson about first impressions (I still make 'em but I'm almost always wrong!).

    Also, I would read that book, if Val ever writes it. :-)

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    1. Me, too. I'd read Val's book, and perhaps after she retires (in May 2016) she'll start working on it.

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  7. Your students are lucky to have you as a teacher, and I bet your year will fly by.
    As far as first impressions, I've learned not to rely on them too much, and I hope others don't judge me by my first impression.

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    1. Donna--Thanks, but I think I'm the lucky one. I have a reeeeally nice group of kids this year. I keep pinching myself.

      What kind of bad first impression do you think people form about you? (I can't imagine anything negative...)

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  8. Usually my first impressions are fairly accurate, but I've learned to be careful about making judgments. We just never know what someone else might be going through. Hope your school year goes well, Sioux :)

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    1. Theresa--Most of mine are pretty accurate, too. But a few times I've been terribly wrong, so I've learned to be cautious.

      And thanks. It already seems like such a great group, I'm worried I'm sleeping... and it's all a dream.

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  9. I am guilty of making first impressions pretty fast...sometimes I am wrong....but sometimes I am right!

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    1. Claudia--I think if we got together, we could compare our first impressions... and laugh about some of them.

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  10. I guess I would answer differently about people than about writing. With people, first impressions count for a lot, but i do try to look past the mohawk or the pearls and see who's there behind that. But as for writing, my first impression is often wrong. It takes time and many readings to really appreciate a piece's value or to see that it isn't up to snuff. Sometimes I will post a poem and think I really aced it, only to read it later and see all the errors in it. Other times I toss something out there and am taken off guard by the enthusiastic comments; I read it again and I'm like, wow, it IS better than i thought! Other times, my gut feeling is right, but certainly not always. There are poems i wrote years ago that i thought were all that, that I can hardly stand to read again, while others, rediscovered while putting together my books, make me wonder how i managed to forget them.

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    1. Shay--Your categorizing (writing vs. people) made ME ponder. Working with kids involves constant vacillation--on a regular basis, I encounter a kid, make a first impression, and then it's blasted into smithereens. Most often I see a kid who's going to fall into what I call the "norm" and they end up having some spark that makes them really stand out.

      I still remember a young writer who was in my creative writing camp. He had glow-in-the-dark orange hair and wore a hoodie (in the summer) on the first day. He kept his head down on the table, hood up, and refused to participate. I thought, 'Uh oh... this is going to be a long three weeks.' As you might predict, this kid blew us away with his writing.

      There is hardly ever anything that I dig up--old writing pieces--that I am wowed by. Considering how you amaze your readers on a daily basis, perhaps your perspective is considerably off?

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  11. MY first impression after reading this post was that you've got some lucky group of kids, to have you for their teacher, especially for the one whose brother you taught last year...those parents probably kissed the ground when they realized they'd get to work with you again this year.

    First impressions---well, I do follow my gut, and I'm usually pretty close to the mark. But my "gut reaction" is on a visceral level rather than a visual level, if that makes sense. I learned a long time ago not to (or at least to try not to) judge by how a person or thing looks, because you just never know. I'm pretty cautious, actually, until time proves things out.

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  12. I haven't been in school for a long time, but something about this time of year still fills me with the excitement of returning to the classroom, seeing old friends, and knowing I have new opportunities.

    My first impression is both you and your students are going to have a wonderful school year, Sioux!

    Pat
    Critter Alley

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  13. I haven't been in school for a long time, but something about this time of year still fills me with the excitement of returning to the classroom, seeing old friends, and knowing I have new opportunities.

    My first impression is both you and your students are going to have a wonderful school year, Sioux!

    Pat
    Critter Alley

    ReplyDelete

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