The waves can crash at any time these days. In the middle of cooking chili or in the middle of a Friday Night Lights marathon with my husband or even mid-step on the stair climber at the gym. The waves of anxiety and anticipation will overcome me. This may sound like a serious issue, but don’t worry, it’s just typical middle-of-the-summer panic for a teacher. This may surprise you, but we teachers get nervous before the start of every school year just like you and your child. We, too, anticipate the unknown and ask some of the same questions your child ponders. Do these sound familiar?
- “Who will be in my class?”
- “Will they like me?”
- “What will my day be like?”
- “Can I keep up with my homework and assignments?”
Yes, these very questions pervade our imaginations as the days drop off the summer calendar and our date of return approaches. Even after teaching for ten years, I still get a little antsy upon the approach of a new school year. I consider new plans, new methods, new ideas, and the new students that await. I also contemplate the parents that I will meet and work together with for the success of their children. In the back of my mind all summer I am thinking about my classroom and the combinations of personalities and abilities that await me.
I am pretty confident that I am not alone in this as far as teachers go. Yes, we embrace the incredible freedom and flexibility that June and July bring us, but a part of us is still in that classroom, planning and anticipating new beginnings. Some of us spend weeks at a time in professional development and meetings during our “free” months. Some of us spend our summers in graduate school programs, extending our understanding of our subject matter as well as instruction. And some of us totally separate from our main occupation and pursue other passions. Despite our differences, we teachers share at least one commonality: we anticipate that first day of school with both anxiety and excitement. We want to provide an environment that supports learning and encouragement, and we earnestly hope we can accomplish that. For teachers, our “back to school” day comes one week earlier than the students. During our professional development days preceding the first day of school, we brainstorm new ideas and plan our first few weeks. Once the shock that summer is ending subsides, I eagerly welcome the new beginnings that come with the first day of school, the proverbial “fresh start.”
When I was young I loved getting new school supplies. Confession: I still kind of love buying new pens, dry erase markers, and a new planner that I will probably give up on. There is something so magical about a clean fresh notebook. I honestly believed as a little girl in the infinite wisdom and unique discoveries that my pen and little hand would create. I find that the first day of school is now my new fresh notebook. All the ideas I’d had last year I can now implement. That “new notebook” will be filled with experiences, frustrations, victories, and successes by the end of the year, but right now it is full of limitless unknowns. Though I am sad to see my brief stay-at-home-momness end, I get excited about these limitless unknowns.
Dear Moms, embrace this new school year for your little, your middle, or your teen. This is a new beginning, a new start for your child to shine and discover something. Though you and/or your child may be feeling the waves of the anxious unknown crashing over you as this summer gets hotter and evaporates away, you guys are not alone. The teachers are feeling it, too. But, come up for air, breathe deeply, and look forward to the new notebook waiting to be filled.