Gearing Up for Another First Day of School

By Evan Triantafilidis
Sentinel Reporter

Julian Curtiss Elementary teachers Stacey Fabion, Vanessa Sylvester and Mary O'Connor. Photo by Evan Triantafilidis.

Julian Curtiss Elementary teachers Stacey Fabion, Vanessa Sylvester and Mary O’Connor. Photo by Evan Triantafilidis.

As students enjoyed their last days of summer vacation, teachers of Glenville and Julian Curtiss made their final preparations to their classrooms, gearing up for another first day of school.

Students may be anxious about returning to school, but they might be surprised to know that even the most experienced teachers get first-day jitters, too.

“We have that bundle of excitement and nerves too just like they do,” Alexa Vacaro, a fifth grade teacher at Glenville, said. “Sometimes I wonder who’s more nervous when you walk in on the first day of school.”

The return of 451 kids to Glenville School will be the first time for many seeing friends since summer vacation started last June, and all will start the year with a brand new teacher.

To help students get comfortable, the school has planned an ice cream social the day before the first day of school. Sponsored by the PTA, the event allows kids to find their lockers and explore their classrooms.

For Christina Klepper, a fifth grade language arts teacher at Glenville, the first day of school is when she finally gets to meet about “20 new young minds” and to team up with Mrs. Vacaro for the first time.

“We’re team teaching this year, which is also new for us,” Klepper said.

Two pairs of fifth grade teachers will work in teams, splitting the subjects of science, math, language arts and writing between the teachers.

“If anything, we’re excited to try something new, and I feel it’s a good collaboration,” Klepper said with her fellow team member. “We’ve heard that [team teaching] is a really good thing to prepare the kids for middle school, because they are already geared towards that.”

At Julian Curtiss, preparations for another school year were delayed by ongoing maintenance at the school, giving teachers less than a week to arrange and decorate their classrooms.

Mary O’Connor and Vanessa Sylvester, fourth grade teachers at the school, have been busy unpacking, organizing, and attending meetings to get ready for the first day of school.

“They’re all good the first day,” Sylvester said about the incoming students. “They’re all dressed nicely and they start the year off with a positive attitude. The night before the first day of school I always get nervous and excited, so I know they’re nervous too.”

Sylvester, O’Connor and Stacey Fabion comprise the fourth grade teaching staff at Julian Curtiss, each having a class of 22 students.

The first day will primarily consist of ice-breaker games, introducing the kids to one another again while teachers get their first glimpse of their new class of kids.

“Everyone’s on their best behavior their first day,” O’Connor added. “Teachers included.”

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