For some of us tomorrow is our first day of school at a new place, for others it is our first day in a new role, but for none of us is it our first day of school. We have all been here on First Day Eve countless times both as students and teachers wrestling around in a stew of familiar emotions: excitement, anxiety, sadness at summer’s end, curiosity at the year ahead…certainty that we won’t have a great night of sleep as we rehearse our first day plans over and over…knowing that SOMETHING will surely arise requiring us to be flexible and change them (a constant in our profession).
We are ready. We are ready because we understand a little more about why we do what we do and what drives us. We are ready because at the center we care about knowing each child and helping them thrive as talented individuals within their community.
I invite you to read this article by Parker Palmer (author of the book The Courage to Teach) as we continue to think about how we each as teachers connect teacher, student, and content in meaningful and transformative ways.
“One student I heard about said she could not describe her good teachers because they were so different from each other. But she could describe her bad teachers because they were all the same: “Their words float somewhere in front of their faces, like the balloon speech in cartoons.” With one remarkable image she said it all. Bad teachers distance themselves from the subject they are teaching–and, in the process, from their students. Good teachers join self, subject, and students in the fabric of life because they teach from an integral and undivided self; they manifest in their own lives, and evoke in their students, a “capacity for connectedness.” (Parker Palmer)
I count myself lucky to work with a group of good teachers who are in so many ways so different and yet share a common vision. Lay out your First Day clothes, prime that coffee maker, and get as much rest as possible….but know we’re all probably tossing and turning a little tonight together.