A new teacherâ€™s first day of school can be as nerve wracking as a childâ€™s first day of kindergarten, but Jesse May, a recent college graduate, didnâ€™t have any butterflies.
â€œI am absolutely ready to go,â€ said May. â€œKids! Bring me kids!â€
Just one week before the start of school, May had moved to Lincolnton from his home state of Pennsylvania. The difference between the two locations was immediately apparent.
â€œEverybody here is so amazingly nice,â€ said May. â€œUp north you say â€˜Hiâ€™ to someone you donâ€™t know, and they look at you strange and walk away.â€
Southern hospitality has helped May feel at home at the three schools he will work in as an art teacher: S. Ray Lowder Elementary, Battleground Elementary and Iron Station Elementary.
While he has spent many hours training as a student teacher, being on his own is a new experience.
â€œThereâ€™s not someone there to tell me if I do make a mistake,â€ said May. â€œI have to catch it on my own.â€
May has been preparing for his first day of school for five years. Unlike other college students who waffle between majors, May knew he wanted to be an art teacher since he was in high school.
â€œI just absolutely love working with kids, and I love art,â€ said May. â€œIt just made sense.â€
It seems the kids love him back. On his first day of class children burst into giggles even when he was laying down the law.
â€œCrayons are for coloring,â€ said May. â€œTheyâ€™re not supposed to be projectile missiles thrown across the classroom.â€
May also warned students he would not tolerate them making fun of each other.
â€œI do not want to see it. I do not want to hear it,â€ said May. â€œIf I do, I promise you, you will be sitting at a table by yourself.â€
That said, he wants his students to have as much fun as possible. He told them they could talk while working and could stand at their tables instead of sitting in chairs.
In each class, he asked every student what their favorite kind of art was. He received some interesting answers.
â€œI paint my hands and stick them to the wall,â€ said one student in his second class.
He also learned on his first day of teaching that he was a pretty hip teacher.
â€œBye Mr. Cool Guy May,â€ said one child as he left the class.
May and his students will have plenty of time to get to know each other over the next year. May will also have time to learn the joys of living in the South.
All his coworkers have welcomed him with open arms, and he wonâ€™t have to deal with waist deep snow this winter.
There are still some things, however, he doesnâ€™t think heâ€™ll ever get used to.
â€œIâ€™m not sure about grits,â€ said May.
Even so, he never doubts his decision to move down South to start his career in teaching children art.
â€œâ€I just have so much fun doing it,â€ said May. â€œThe kids are hilarious. Theyâ€™re fun. Theyâ€™re all really excited about art.â€by Sarah Grano