CHANDLER, AZ — Students in the Chandler Unified School District return on July 20, but new teachers are already reporting back and hitting the books.
"I'm so ready!" explains Bethany Halligan, who will be teaching kindergarten in the district this year.
She's one of the more than 300 new teachers starting in the district this year.
"I've always had a passion for teaching and working with kids and making a difference. Just that excitement of getting that new class every year, new faces, and they're so eager to learn."
But as excited as Bethany is, she admits there are some butterflies for everyone!
"I've always wondered that if teachers get nervous on the first day too," ABC15 asked.
"Oh, absolutely! Yep," Halligan replied. "I feel like you have the first day jitters just like the kids, and I like to let my kids know that. I'm nervous. You're nervous. We're going to get to know each other and get through this together."
And she's certainly not the only one. Take it from Lauren and Madison, two newly-minted educators, graduating from ASU in May, ready to embark on their first year of teaching.
"I'm excited and nervous as well!" explains Madison. "My whole apartment is full of teacher stuff! And we've been cutting lamination stuff all summer! It's been exciting. I've always wanted to teach first grade, it was my goal. They are so fun, so creative. And they still get your humor. You can still joke around with them."
Student teaching is also proving to be a beneficial training ground.
"I made some of the deepest connections with those kids at my last school and they impacted me so much," explains Lauren. "I can tell I also impacted them and it's such a wonderful feeling. It's crazy the impact you can make. Sometimes, I didn't even know I was getting through to certain kids until they would say something. And on my last day it was a world of difference."
Chandler Unified says they're still looking to hire 30 more teachers. If you're interested in applying, visit the district's website here.