Teaching and Learning Began on Day One at Dobbs Elementary School

By Mariama Tyler Jenkins

Students at Dobbs Elementary filed off their busses and gathered in the gymnasium to meet their new teachers and classmates on Day One. Sitting “crisscross, applesauce,” students lined up, single file behind one another assembled in neat rows by grade level. For some students it is a reunion after a long summer, others are a little shy and apprehensive. Class by class, Dr. West, the principal, announced teachers’ names and the roster of students assigned to each class.

Dobbs Art Teacher Ms. MacNintch hugs first-grade student David Malcolm.
Dobbs Art Teacher Ms. MacNintch hugs first-grade student David Malcolm.

Some returning students like little David Malcolm and Saniya Washington, who sported a bright pink bookbag she received at the APS Back-to-School Bash just a week prior, had to be reminded that they had been promoted a grade—no longer in kindergarten, but rather first graders now.

When asked what he was looking forward to this school year, David answered, “I’m looking forward to visiting the museum. The one with the dinosaurs!” he exclaimed excitedly referring to the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. “Yes, the one with the huge dinosaur, and they have a playground in the back,” he added.

David Malcolm and Saniya Washington sitting in line waiting to meet their new first-grade teachers.
David Malcolm and Saniya Washington sitting in line waiting to meet their new first-grade teachers.

Ms. MacNintch, the school’s art teacher, noticed the two children were in the wrong line and helped the youngsters line up with other new first graders, but not before she greeted David enthusiastically. While picking him up in her arms to give him a big hug, she shared:  “David is the most interesting kid in the world.” Knowing how much he loves dinosaurs, Ms. MacNintch went on to tell David that over the summer, she picked up a book on dinosaurs and could not wait to give it to him.

“I have the best job in the world.” she said referring to her unique opportunity to interact with every student at Dobbs. “I get all of them, and just have to love on them.”

Imani Bailey (left), first grade, is escorted to her new class by Mahogany Earley,  third grade.
Imani Bailey (left), first grade, is escorted to her new class by Mahogany Earley, third grade.

One student, Imani Bailey, remained seated after all the names of the registered first graders had been called. Dr. West invited Imani to sit near her and become her helper—assigning her to hold the pink clip board that held the roster of students. Once all the student names had been called, Dr. West determined Imani’s classroom, and asked third grader Mahogany Earley to escort Imani to her new class.  The girls held hands as they walked out the gym and down the hall.

As one teacher started to escort her newly assigned students out the gym through the left side of the double doors, Dr. West asked the teacher to “practice taking the students through the right side of the doors from the first day.” Every moment is a teachable moment, for students and adults alike. With that lesson, teaching and learning began on Day One.

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