I have either one week or two days in the books depending upon how you look at things. After a long, tiring drive home Sunday, I reported for work first thing Monday. The faculty had an off-site retreat to discuss the more spiritual aspects of teaching high school students. I was, thankfully, not the only non-practicing person in attendance so I didn’t feel uncomfortable.If anything, I was made to feel quite welcome with everyone welcoming me to the full-time ranks. We ate, we talked, caught up on summers, and talked about teaching our students.On Tuesday, we were back at the school and did some more eating and had a more routine staff meeting. With a new Assistant Principal and new Dean of Students (both being teachers moving up the ladder), we tweaked rules and routines. When it came to leaving sub plans, someone quipped they had to do better since I wasn’t going to be subbing for them anymore.Wednesday was more of the same although freshmen and new transfer students, accompanied by veteran students, ran through their schedule to get familiar with the building and its idiosyncratic layout. The returning kids were thrilled to see me and I had a chance to finish decorating my room and making all my copies.The students wandered in Thursday morning, not quite believing their summer had come to an end. I did several ice breakers, getting them up and moving, talking with one another and easing them into the routine. We did have a welcome back assembly and when the four new teachers were introduced, I was stunned by the thunderous applause I received. I guess I left my mark.We began discussing academic matters on Friday. For the American Lit students, I got them talking about the American Dream, having already shown them some quotes. I followed that with clips from Star Trek and The American President (which made me happy) and then had they create small group definitions of the American Dream on poster paper.The Brit Lit students were challenged to come up with things they knew about English history and culture to help me gauge how much backstory I would need to apply. It was spirited and thankfully they knew more than Shakespeare and One Direction (both mentioned, of course).We get into more traditional teaching tomorrow but I have to say, I like these kids. They are spirited, vocal, and seem ready to do as I ask without a lot of complaint. With luck, I have a diverse assortment of activities for them so we’re not collectively bored. I am genuinely looking forward to talking about these books, seeing what they think, and how they can connect things for greater learning.