Today is the first day of school for many students, teachers, and families across the US. I started to write a Facebook post this morning and realized that what I was thinking was more than just a Facebook post. There are many people in my life starting school, some related to me, some very dear friends, others acquaintances…
I have hopes and wishes for everyone embarking on a new school year today (or in the past few weeks):
For those of you who are students (particularly my own daughters); I hope you embrace all aspects of the coming year – academic as well as social, musical, athletic, emotional, and everything in between. I hope that you continue to develop into amazing the amazing individual human being that you are. I hope that you listen to your teachers, parents, and other adults and know that they care about you. I hope that you ask questions, lots of them and search for meaning and understanding.
For those of you who are parents, I hope that you enjoy the journey of watching your children develop into unique human beings. I hope that you listen to them – what they say with their words as well as what they don’t say. I hope that you think of education and schooling as a partnership between your child, your child’s teacher, and you. I hope that you respect, trust, and believe in the teachers that are caring for your children.
A special note to those former students of mine who are beginning in their own classrooms for the first time or beginning an internship/student teaching experience: I hope that you have a year full of learning and teaching that is challenging and inspiring. There will be times when you feel you are prepared for what is happening, when you will feel confident in the ways you have been learning to teach. On those days – enjoy it, but push yourself further, ask how you can make something better. There will also be times when you feel completely unprepared, when you will have far more questions than answers and feel bewildered at how you became “THE teacher”. It’s ok, take a deep breath and ask your questions. Seek information, listen to colleagues that you trust, listen to your gut, listen to your students (both verbal AND nonverbal), listen to their parents, and keep moving forward. You are on an incredible journey of learning to teach – know that there is not an endpoint and that you are on the trip with an incredible network of colleagues.
For all of you who are teaching, I hope that you have a phenomenal year. I hope that you are inspired by your students. I hope that you are inspired by other teachers. I hope that you embrace your role as a professional educator: one who knows content and pedagogy, child development and compassion. The rhetoric around public education in the US right now can be demoralizing and disheartening – don’t give into it, rise above it. Teaching is an incredibly noble and challenging profession, one that I am so very proud to be a part of.