Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Night Before School Starts: One Teacher's Perspective

How happy are we?  JIS: one of the happiest places on earth.
 Even better than Disneyland!

My students start tomorrow, and while I'm excited, I'm not all atwitter, and I certainly have no impending sense of doom or dread.  I graduated with my bachelors of education degree 26 years ago, and I still love this job.  (That being said, I have chosen my teaching positions wisely and gotten out of ones that have been less than fulfilling.)

I remember those first day jitters I used to get, and I don't miss them.  Tonight I feel calm and collected and happy that tomorrow I will begin a journey with a whole new set of kiddos.  I plan to knock their socks off with excitement for learning, to inspire them, and to find a special place in my heart for each one of those whippersnappers.

It's funny because every year I look at the upcoming students and think,"Oh no, I'm not going to like them.  There's no way they'll ever beat the class I have this year."

Of course I adore this student, because she's my dirty-kneed
daughter.  How lucky am I to teach in the same school
 that my kids attend?

Regardless, within the first week of the new brood coming in, I am already thinking, "This is the best class I've ever had.  I  love these kiddos!"

I am sure this year will be exactly the same as it has been for the last couple of decades.  At this rate of enjoyment with my job, I could last another couple of decades.  It sometimes scares me how much I love my job because it IS enormous and the responsibility IS huge, and I have been entrusted with a cluster of starlets and it's my job to tug them higher and brighter into the night sky so they shine and inspire and grow into full-grown orbiting suns.

How cool and scary is that?  Should they pay us more? You bet!  Do we do it for the money?  Of course not.  Do we do it for the holidays?  Only just a very little bit.  Every teacher worth his or her weight in gold (and there are a lot of us) are in this gig because we know we are making a difference, and that our nurturing and facilitation is going to bring forth global citizens who will pay it forward and make a big difference in other's people's lives one way or another,  and it will go on and on just like that Clairol hair commercial from 20 odd years ago.

I want my students to be smart and knowledgeable and turned on to learning, but mostly I want them to be happy and grow up happy and to go on to help other people to be happy.  Maybe that's simplistic (and it's not acknowledging all the myriad of skills and learning we teachers are indeed working diligently on imparting), but in the end, I wish more than anything else for the happiness and well-being of my students both now and into their futures.

After all, what is life for if not to be happy?

I'm off to choose my clothes for tomorrow and to settle in for a restful sleep.  If there are butterflies tomorrow, they will be beautiful ones.

Happy first day of school, my colleagues and students and parents.  It's going to be a bang-up year!

We teachers like each other so much that we even
choose to socialize together!

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