Back-to-School Musings from a New Addition to the Aspen Academy Team

  • Child Development
Katie Lynn Hamel


Despite being very ready for the first day of school, and it being my 37th official First Day of School (if you count my first days as a student and teacher), I still was a bit nervous. I had done so much of this before: gotten the classroom ready, had the pencils sharpened, I had learned the names of the students. Yet I knew, every day is a new adventure and I truly wasn’t sure what was going to be in store. This was the first time in a new state, at a new school, with a whole new set of students. They don’t know me and I don’t know them.

As the students began to file in, the nervousness dissipated and I was reminded of why I do what I do. I love it. I love kneeling down to say "hello" and "good morning" to a new second grade friend and assuring their parents that we will have a great day. After taking attendance and walking the kids through our routine, it was time for "Town Hall" with all the second grade students. It was great to have them all in the same room together: the joy and energy were contagious.

After some time, a new second grade friend came to me with a sad and somber face. He told me something I hadn’t heard in my almost two decades of teaching: he’d swallow an eraser. Just a little tiny one that’s normally on the end of a pencil. It was now in his stomach. He “accidentally” popped it into his mouth. I knew he wasn’t in much danger and assured him he was going to be okay. Not 10 minutes later, another student came my way. This time with a big smile and a little bloody mouth. He had lost a tooth and couldn’t wait to get the necklace from Ms. Aylward and pick out a toy, too. A fellow teacher had speculated that he had waited all summer to pull it out, because getting this necklace was a real sense of pride for Aspen Academy students. I didn’t doubt it. I was a bit excited to see the toy bin myself.

It was only 10:15 and there had been so much unexpected “adventure,” thus far.

This is why I love teaching, despite having been in the classroom for more than 5,000 days, each day is completely different and more exciting than the last. There are no carbon copy days of one another. So being nervous about new things isn’t really worth it, and the newness of each day is one of the many reasons I love it. I can’t predict what will happen--who will have that "ah ha" moment, who will be excited to share their thoughts, lose a tooth, or make that new friend. I can be sure that here, at Aspen Academy, everyone will be treated with kindness, welcomed with a big smile and given the tools to be successful, just like I have been. 

About the Author

Katie Lynn has thoroughly enjoyed teaching various grades in the NYC area for the past 17 years. Her most favorite things to teach are math and theater. Her love of learning, travel, the outdoors and new adventures bring her, her husband and three kids to Colorado. She's excited to be part of a vibrant and nurturing school community here at Aspen Academy.