Sunday, August 26, 2018

Happy New (School) Year!


I took this picture the morning of the first day of student attendance.  My classroom was set up, my plans (for the day at least) were made.  All that was missing was the kids.  As I stood in my ready-and-waiting classroom, I took a moment to think about the year ahead.

This moment - the moment before the first bell rings and kids fill the hallways- is full of promise and possibility.  My brain and my heart are filled with ideas and hopes and dreams that will hopefully manifest themselves over the next nine months.  Though I know the names of the students who will occupy this space with me, I don't know them.  I have the distinct privilege of getting to know who they are, what they are passionate about, what they hope and dream for themselves.

This moment -the moment before I am off and running without time to do much besides breathe- is the moment I've waited for all summer as I've read and learned and planned so that I can be the best possible teacher I can be.  I am a perfectionist; I don't like making mistakes or feeling unprepared.  As a result, I can be incredibly hard on myself.  But as I've gotten older and gained experience, I've realized that it is in making mistakes and reflecting on them that I grow as a teacher.  If I never reflected, never thought about the things that went wrong as well as the things that went right, I would never be inspired to think about new ways of doing things or reach out to colleagues to find out how they approach teaching different concepts and content areas.  I would not be the best teacher I can be.

This moment - the moment before my 25th year as a teacher- is one I savored.  I am so lucky to be able to do what I love every.single.day.  This job is hard.  It is draining.  It requires critical thinking and quick decision making.  It can consume every bit of energy if you let it.  But it is also incredibly fulfilling.  I get to see my kids grow every day.  I know the lessons they learn in my classroom go beyond their multiplication facts and how to find the main idea of a story.  They are learning to communicate, to work with others, to make decisions for themselves, to use their voices.

This moment is the first great moment of the new school year.