Today was, at last, the first half day of school.
(As an aside, don't ask me why we have a half day on Friday, give the kids Monday off, and actually start school with a full schedule on Tuesday. I have no idea why. It's weird. But It Is How We Do Things.)
And something really weird happened.
Nothing went wrong.
Now, this may not seem like a big deal, but I remember first days when the entire network crashed, the phones crashed with it, and not only couldn't we call anyone, we couldn't print schedules, enroll kids, or even look up anything. A new kid would enroll and guidance would just go park him or her in a nearby classroom for the day until the system went back up. It was ugly. We've had days where many kids had no schedules or crazy schedules with, say, three math classes. We've had days where kids had no clue where the buses were and the bus drivers didn't know where to park.
And then we had last year when The Team decided, after the first half day, that everything we'd heard about those kids was True and we were in for a helluva year.
This year was so smooth we kept waiting for something to happen. The seventh graders were excited to be back, so much so that they cheered for The Principal, Mr. Enforcer, and Mrs. Sparrow, our new Assistant Principal. The Principal looked over at us with surprise and commented on that never happening before. The fact that these kids cheered for Mr. Enforcer, the guy who does a lot of the discipline referrals, was pretty amazing. And then they actually got quiet, listened for their names to be called, and waited quietly outside the theater (with the PE teachers supervising) for us to finish calling our homerooms so we could collect our cherubs and go to class.
They sat, they listened, the did their tasks, they were nice, they were polite, it was, well, a shock. We all gathered together after the kids were dismissed and kind of stood around stunned.
"Is it me, or were these kids just a lot better than what we had last year?" asked Coach Math.
"They're better," Mrs. Social Studies said. "I could tell within the first hour that this was a better bunch. It's weird."
I guess The Team is just used to our Seventh Grade Class From Hades acting like a bunch of hooligans and having nice, respectful kids in class is truly something we haven't been used to in the past year.
It was, truly, a really nice, easy, comfortable day.
Of course, the eighth grade teachers didn't have such a nice day. Apparently our fervent hope that our group from last year would grow up and mature and develop some people skills did not come to pass. Mrs. Angora, a fantastic 8th grade science teacher, came up to me before we went into our afternoon session.
"Oh. My. God." she said.
"Uh, let me guess...they didn't mature," I responded.
"Not even close," she said. "They were awful. Just awful."
And she got the best of the bunch. I truly feel sorry for our 8th grade teachers this year.