By Kim Walter -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Push in your chair. No hitting or kicking. Quiet in the halls. No picking your nose and use a tissue!
These rules covered the white board in Megan Reedy's second-grade classroom on Wednesday as Warren County students returned for the first day of school.
Reedy is not only new to E. Wilson Morrison Elementary School in Front Royal, she is also new to the teaching profession. The mother of two held a position as an office manager after graduating high school and completing a year at Lord Fairfax Community College, but after having her second child, she decided to pursue a career in teaching.
She took classes at LFCC, and then finished at Shenandoah University, working through all 12 years that it took to get her degree. Reedy completed student teaching work in multiple counties, but said she always wanted to work full time in Warren County Public Schools, where she received her education.
Recently, she decided to take on a reading aid position at A.S. Rhodes Elementary School, since a full-time teaching position hadn't opened up. However, following a last minute change in faculty, E. Wilson Morrison's Principal Margaret Holmes found herself short one teacher in the second grade.
"I got the call from Margaret Tuesday afternoon, less than 24 hours before the first day of school," Reedy laughed. "But I was ready, I told her I would do it."
Reedy spent Tuesday evening meeting the other three second grade teachers, and also took the opportunity to plan as much as possible. Thankfully, her room was almost completely cleaned and set up for her to use.
"She didn't seem too nervous, just excited," Holmes said of Reedy's reaction to the last-minute hiring. "You know, I chose not to interview brand new teachers for this school year, because I was really looking for experience. But this has worked out just fine ... I guess it was just meant to happen."
Holmes was Reedy's principal when she attended A.S. Rhodes for grade school, so she was happy to work alongside a familiar face.
"The staff has been very helpful," Reedy said Wednesday. "My first day has been amazing, I couldn't have asked for a better group of kids. They're all so excited to be here."
While second grade had never been the age group that Reedy preferred to teach, she said she's realized that it's a good fit for her, as most children still want to be helped, but can also do a number of things on their own.
On Wednesday morning, Reedy asked her students what they're favorite subject was.
"Sixteen of the 19 said P.E.," she said. "I'm hoping by the end of the year they'll say reading, history or science. Reading is really my passion, and I want them to like it just as much as I do."
When she asked what the students expected of her, they made no mention of learning or her teaching abilities, and instead asked that she be "nice" and "funny."
"I just don't want them to be bored. One of the kids said today that they love second grade, and in June I want them to say the same thing," Reedy said.
The day as a whole was relatively calm throughout the county, according to Superintendent Pamela McInnis.
"Children are already learning, which is a good thing," she said. Enrollment numbers for the county are up by 72 students from last year, she added. At this point, the kindergarten class is the largest in the division, with 424 of them spread out amongst the five elementary schools.
At E. Wilson Morrison, kindergarten classes are as large as 25 students per class, Holmes said. The school was able to get through the first day without any major hiccups, though.
"We didn't have but two criers, and they were both parents," she said.
As for how everything fell into place for Reedy this school year, she said she knew that whatever opportunity came up in Warren County would be meant to be.
I love kids, spending time with them, teaching them, knowing that you help brighten their day ... it's all worth it," she said. "The rewards from my new career are far better than anything I had before."