They roam around school–freshmen. Lost. Their first day.

“Miss,” they say, “where’s…”

“Miss, how do I get to….”

“Check your schedule,” I say. “If there’s an ‘A,’ you stay.”

Half leave.

Energy from last year’s student, texting under the desk, scowling, finally cracking a smile–replaced by a boy from year’s crew.

They like that I hate textbooks. That I told them I’d know their names almost immediately. And I do.

They stand up. Introductions. You have to stand to show confidence.

“No one will laugh at you here…we will have fun. We will make friends. You will learn.”

A quizzical look. An expression of doubt.

“Who hates school?” Hands high in the air. “Who hates social studies?” Hands.

“My job’s to make you hate both less.”

I tell them stories. Maybe three. Five minutes, tops. They laugh. They whisper about me. About this class. They don’t know I can read their lips. They might begin to trust, to open up. Their best sneakers shine like the expressions of hope on their faces.

“See you tomorrow.”

They leave, smiling. Happy customers. For today.

“Miss, which bus?”

“Beats me,” We walk outside. “They’re all yellow. That one looks nice.” The bus driver answers. Kids get on. Doors close.

A big new school. A big day.

Don’t worry–you won’t be lost for long.