Any teacher knows that the eve before the first day of a new school year can induce some anxiety and mild depression that the summer is officially over. Tomorrow, there will be familiar and unfamiliar faces of kids waiting for you at your classroom and expecting you to be completely present for them for the next nine months. Self-care takes a backseat to lesson plans and putting out daily fires becomes more common than finishing a good book outside on the patio or getting an hour extra of sleep.
However, it’s especially important on this day every year to remind ourselves that we are making a choice to head back into those unforgiving hallways. We choose to because we care so deeply about the easy and tough relationships we have the possibility of building with students who need caring adults in their lives. We choose to come back because of the moments sprinkled throughout the year when they make us so inevitably proud of the growth they have made in their understandings of themselves as meaningful humans in the world. We choose to come back because we know that even on the worst of days, that we are making a difference, and that is important to remember.
So as long as we are making this choice day in and day out, might as well make it one of the best choices we have made and are making, right? One book I did complete this summer was “Better than Before” by Gretchen Rubin, (http://gretchenrubin.com/), which is an account of the massive effect that creating healthy and appropriate habits can be to improving one’s overall happiness and effectiveness in life. And so, as an experiment in reinvigorating this career I have chosen for an 8th year, I have decided to commit to doing a few things differently and reflecting on those habits and how they are impacting my attitude about teaching. Here are the three commitments I am making for this school year:
- Reflection. Judd and I sat down and created a calendar (something I love, more on that later…) on our own commitment to blogging this school year and sharing all of our up’s and down’s and ideas and happenings in the lives of two teachers.
- Focus on the things I can control. This is tough! In my teacher training through Teach for America, this idea was highly stressed to us before we dove into the world of education. Unfortunately through the last seven years, I have noticed that I have become jaded about the education system in a lot of ways, and have forgotten this piece. It’s important!
- Have fun! It’s supposed to be fun, isn’t it? Being authentic to who I am in the classroom, which is someone who likes to have fun, and teaches theatre because of the joy it provides to all who are involved as participants and witnesses.
So here’s to another new school year, a flavor that is more focused on the CHOICE to make it a great year.