Every school year is full of new beginnings.
This year was particularly new–a new district, a new school, a new staff to get to know, a new classroom, and of course, new students. As I continue to navigate the new aspects, I also remember the people who have been a part of this journey so far.
As I pulled out my books, I found “Herman the Helper”–D’s favorite book. I smiled as I remembered him reading his first level J book. I laughed also, at the fact that he read this book over and over, sometimes to spite me when he didn’t want to read a more challenging book. As I remember D, I remember the power of unlocking a student’s potential; and the long, difficult, yet rewarding journey.
As I continued to unpack, I discovered “Mr. Peabody”, a small stuffed dog that sat on my bookshelf. He was named by my 2nd D from last year. I laughed at the thought of him building a house for the dog. At the same time, I remembered the importance of love and patience, and the fact that students learn in many different ways.
As I began to meet the new staff, particularly one of the brand new teachers, I thought of Mr. Stegall and Ms. Nunez. I wished I could go back to our mornings listening to iHeart radio and laughing together. (I’m glad we still get to hang out!) I remembered though, how significant it was to feel at home and cared for. I determined to pass that on to those I met.
As I remembered, another year of school started in full swing. I walked in to my new classroom with my old memories to greet 21 new smiling faces. 21 students with new stories, personalities, worries, needs, and desires. 21 students to educate, inspire, motivate, love, and guide. 21 students whose puzzles need solving. 21 students to show that they can and will reach their fullest potential.
I am confronted once more with the overwhelming burden of being an educator.
The burden that comes from teaching a student who has experienced more in her 8 years than any child should. The burden that comes from teaching a student who doesn’t fully believe in herself and so acts out to hide that fact. The burden of being a teacher, guide, listening ear, caregiver, judge, and protector all at the same time.
The burden but also the overwhelming privilege.
The privilege of loving each and every student. The privilege of watching them grow and mature. The privilege of helping them see their own value and worth. The privilege of teaching them how to respect others, to take pride in their work, to do everything with excellence, to be passionate about their learning and to show integrity no matter what.
So here is to a new year. Bring it on.