Christine Rog's first back-to-school ritual took place in her kitchen, where the construction of a ham sandwich heralded the start of a new year and new challenges ahead.
Upon arriving at her new school, Stevenson Elementary, Rog marked another first: The inaugural steps onto a Burbank campus to become a part of the school system.
The last time she did this, she was a student — growing up through Roosevelt Elementary, then Luther Burbank Middle School, and eventually graduating from Burroughs High. This time, she arrives to her own classroom, a speech-therapy bungalow that will be absent of students for another week.
That gives her time to set up shop, get to know former teachers of hers who are now colleagues and prepare for a new career in education.
Of the 29 new teachers in Burbank Unified School District this year, Rog is the only one who grew up in the 15,266-student district. Since graduating college five years ago, Rog has worked in private practice speech therapy in Encino.
A new baby and a home in Burbank made her look for work closer to this area. Rog also acknowledged that it would be nice to have summers off and a spring break.
Burbank Unified was the only district to which she applied.
"This was it," she said. "I wanted to give back to the community after growing up here."
It sank in making lunch that first day — the new year, the new career were converging and here was Rog, a therapist who will help students understand and decode how to communicate.
The first week for teachers is spent setting up classrooms and meeting co-workers. During one orientation Rog was surprised to see her former classmates now working as educators, sitting among teachers she had as a student.
The following Monday was show time.
Her first day, she said, was pretty easy. Most of it was spent on the phone talking to parents for Stevenson's preschool program.
One girl did arrive for her first speech session, dressed in new clothes and nervous about meeting her new teacher for the first time.
Rog observed how the other therapist began a session, and soon she was underway with her own instruction.
For both teacher and student, it will be a year of discovery, challenges and first experiences.