A New School Year- A Fresh Start August 09, 2017 08:19

I love the new school year. Well, for at least the first week. My teacher's plan book is filled out for the first week, the room is clean, and I have a new outfit. But then the students arrive. Each year I feel ready for the new group until they enter the classroom. They are carrying new backpacks and new challenges I have never experienced in my 45 years of teaching. But, none the less, I feel ready to tune into their uniqueness, so I can provide the best guidance possible and also see what they have to teach me this year.

I have made it a practice over the last 45 years not to teach summer school. Instead, I trade places with my students and spend time reflecting on what my students taught me. I also use the few months afforded me during the summer to do my own research and read books that I have not had time to read during the hectic school year. Every year, I enter the classroom rejuvenated with a feeling of enthusiasm for what will change as a result of what I learned through my summer studies and from what my students taught me the prior year. I spend a lot of time reviewing the challenges of the prior year and plan for the new year feeling a little more prepared than the year before. You would think I would have nailed it after 45 years in teaching and 22 years in third grade. But, my students always bring new opportunities for me to learn. Like my students, I like getting a fresh new start.

I was asked this summer how I could still have enthusiasm after teaching for so many years. The young man asking the question wondered how I didn't manage to get burned out. Honestly, I wasn't always so enthusiastic. In fact, there was a time 22 years ago when I thought of leaving teaching forever. With my mother's counseling, I revisited my real reason for teaching, and that was enough to consider finding a new school where I could empower students to find the innate ability they possess to achieve their goals and to coach parents in strategies to empower their children. I left the district I was in and found a school that was inline with my vision. Everyday, I remind myself that I am in this job for the kids. My goal is to stay tuned into the needs of each of my children and the unique needs of their parents. Do I always agree with the administration? Not always, but I don't let that define my role at the school.

So, I'm ready. I have my outfit for the first day ready, and I'm refreshed and excited about the 2017-18 school year.