All the back-to-school sales are in full swing, new shoes are being bought, and notebooks have made their return debut on store shelves; once again it's time to get this party started.
Although I hate to see the dog days of summer come to an end, I rejoice when its time to start a new school year. After 75 days of listening to "Watch this mommy!" or "I'm soooo bored, what we are going to do today?" my ears are beginning to trickle blood. However, the beauty in it all is that I will also start receiving a paycheck again.
This will be my fifth year with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, and I will admit that I am experiencing some first-day jitters.
My initial anxieties parallel those of a prepubescent 10-year-old. Who will be in my classes? What shall I wear on my first day to make a good impression? Will I make any new friends?
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As my surface anxieties accelerate, so does my inner thought process. My brain has been on cruise control for the summer, and now it is time to shift myself back into gear.
Reflection begins: What has worked in the past and what improvements need to be made? Unpacking begins: It's time to set up my classroom and unload my six crates of favorite juvenile novels. Dread sets in: There are the staff "meet and greets," several academic meetings, and open houses to attend.
I wonder how I will get everything done in time.
Over the years, I have repetitively lectured my students that they have only one major job in their lives during adolescence: Learn. Their paychecks are the grades they earn. I must also acknowledge my responsibilities, because my job is to provide my students with the necessary tools to learn and become successful.
At times this seems difficult and frustrating. The dynamics of a classroom have changed tremendously since I was a student several years ago.
No longer are children threatened by the possibilities of being paddled by the principal, and sadly the level of respect and appreciation among our youth has declined tremendously.
I am definitely not suggesting that we beat our students, but it is a common frustration among teachers when they cannot get through their prepared lesson plan because they are forced to spend time on discipline.
The beginning of each new school year is like moving into a new house. Cleaning, unpacking and meeting new people. It is the birth of new dreams, goals, and a refreshed hope.
I am changing schools this year and will be teaching a new subject, so my anxieties and work load double. Yet I remind myself that I have a desire to inspire, and that is what propels me forward.
We are all in this together: teachers, students and parents alike. Despite all our individual anxieties that come with the beginning of a new school year, this is a joint venture.
In the wake of acknowledging our personal roles and responsibilities, we will inevitably reap the benefits of another successful school year.