Inspiration · Teaching & Working

Back to school: A time for renewal

Ms. Solway's grade 6 class

Ah yes! I am a teacher! It is time once again, to put in an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. And what kind of teacher would I be, if I didn’t blog about going back to school?

So here it is.

There is something refreshing and reassuring in knowing that structure, routine, and urgency is returning after this 2-month hiatus.  I’ll tell you a little secret, I really do function better under schedules, routines and reasonable pressure (I might be done with the high pressure, high adrenaline lifestyle – unless rock climbing is involved.  I wouldn’t turn that down).

Back to school is about designing, creating and experiencing a fresh start.  Will I change my hair? Will I change my make-up? Will I wear something that people would not normally expect me to wear? Will I try harder in Math this year?  Will I give homework a try?  I like to ask myself, will I kick off things in a new way, with new strategies, new routines, or new teaching techniques? Will I capture the attention of my new students? Will students engage in the class?….So many questions.  Setting up the first day, is a bit like directing the opening night of a theatrical production….and since I only ever produce shows or stage manage…..directing is nerve-wracking!

The energy on the first day of school is unlike anything else! I have played in many championship games, and I have survived many opening nights backstage.  The first day of school is quite honestly – ELECTRIC! Just about every student is happy to be there, buzzing around like busy bees.  They’re all shiny and clean (at least at my school), with their new hair and new duds.  I always like to check out how many of my grade 6 girls are wearing make-up.  That always gives me something to work with. LOL.

FRESH & NEW!  That is the thing I love the most about a new school year.  It’s an opportunity for everyone to decide what the NEW thing is that they have decided to try. So many times in life, we make choices that we later wish we could take back.  Things we say, things we do, things we think about.  We are changing and evolving so quickly that it’s hard to always make those decisions that we can live with. For kids, things happen to them and around them all the time.  It can be hard to forget things that happen, and hard to get out of patterns that have hard-wired over a school year.  You know where this message is heading, but I’ll leave that for another blog. A new school year is the time to bring about change and renewal!

Our school community is stable, not at all transient.  The families that show up on the first day are the families that have been at TPS for years (even generations). So, I get to see how a child has changed over a summer, year after year.  It’s often neat to see those changes in confidence, alterations to personality, or shifts in their beliefs about school.  Sure, sometimes these changes are for the worst, but often they are for the better.

Engaging the children of Generation Next

It all starts when I call out the list of students who will be in my class. The students are vibrating with excitement. We rush upstairs to get the day started.  We skip through the halls; arriving at our classroom.  Students kick off their old shoes and pull on their new shoes.  They hang up their crisp and clean backpacks and empty out the school supply treasures that wait inside. Each student carries their supplies into the classroom as though they were a 20 carat diamond that should never be dropped. And then, in those first moments….every student cares about how those precious items go into their desk.  By day five? Fifty per cent of the desks are a disaster.

Now I realize there are many schools out there that do not experience this kind of energy and enthusiasm on the first day.  I have worked at those schools too.  But for the most part… the first day of school is fresh and new.  It is a time to set goals and reach for them. Students and teachers are optimistic, open-minded, patient, and ready to go! What a perfect time to jump on the wagon and ride it away for as long as you possibly can.

That is what I plan to do tomorrow.  I’m going to capture the first day spirit. I’m going to harness the optimism, patience, readiness, and open-mindedness. I will stay on that ride for as long as my audience will let me.

……Did I mention I will also be teaching Junior/Senior Kindergarten Phys. Ed.  Hmmm.  I think I better go back through this blog and EDIT. My bubble may have burst. Just kidding.  Take everything I have said, and multiply it by a thousand! That’s how a kindergartener will approach the first day.  After the tears and whining that is.

My own kids are excited and ready for the summer to close.  My hope is that they too see this as an opportunity to make a fresh start and chose something that they want to do differently too.  These opportunities are not as obvious any other time in the year (except in the New Year).

Before getting started, I love to watch Dalton Sherman. Check it out.

I hope you and your family enjoy your start to a new school year.

What are your thoughts and experiences around the first day of school?


5 thoughts on “Back to school: A time for renewal

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