Anchorage teachers return to classrooms ahead of students first day

Anchorage teachers return to classrooms ahead of students first day
Updated: Aug. 17, 2022 at 7:00 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Anchorage School District is in its final countdown leading up to the first day of school.

On Thursday, the parking lots will be filled once again with cars and children flooding into classrooms, ready for the first day back. However, for teachers, that first day back in the classroom started earlier this week.

MiCall Sweet, a first-grade teacher at Gladys Wood Elementary, is moving furniture around her classroom to start to prepare for students.

“I’m pumped, I came in early because I couldn’t wait to get back into the classroom,” Sweet said. “I don’t ever feel like summer is too short, I am always ready to come back so I’m ready for the first day and to meet all the kids and families.

While the official first day back for teachers was at the start of the week, Sweet eagerly opened her classroom doors to prepare for the new school year last Friday. Her whiteboard wall is filled with a list of the final touches she still needs to add to her classroom.

“I have my list up of stuff that I still need to get done and that is not the full list,” Sweet said. “Right now I am kind of at what I call the labeling stage where I am just labeling everything with student names and numbers to make sure every student has the things in the classroom that makes it feel like their home.”

This year will kick off Sweet’s seventh year of teaching. Sweet grew up just down the street from Gladys Wood and attended all her academic years in the Anchorage School District. Following graduation, she attended the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Throughout all her years of education, she had a goal to become a teacher.

“I have definitely wanted to teach since I was in first grade,” Sweet said. “I felt like my first-grade teacher was amazing and I just thought like I kind of want to do what he does, he is so cool.”

Now, Sweet is living out the legacy her educators have laid out for her during her years attending schools in the district — even working alongside old Dimond High School classmates and former coaches she had growing up. As a child who loved to read, she gets to share that love with her students as she crafts the next generation of readers.

“The students learn six words every week, and so these are all those words cumulatively. By the end of the year they know all the words up there,” Sweet said.

As Thursday morning inches closer, Sweet’s classroom is almost complete. She has labeled bins for each student, left fresh crayons waiting to be opened on the table, and a shelf of books ready to be read.

Yet, one important component is missing in her classroom.

“The people in it,” Sweet said. “I think it would not really be much if it was just an empty classroom.”

Sweet is anxious to see the smiling faces of her new class that she will welcome into first grade on Thursday.

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