I have been absent from my blog as of late because I have been busying myself getting my classroom ready for a new school year. Michigan always starts school after Labor Day so even though in many parts of the country school has already been in session for many days now, my first day starts tomorrow.
Over the summer the classrooms in our school were remodeled, and I was thrilled with the results. I already had a beautiful classroom, but I am housed in a section of the building that was built in the 1920s, so it was in desperate need of some updating. Now the room is clean, light, and beautiful:
Tomorrow marks my 5th "first day of school" as a teacher. I've made it to that infamous 5th year - the year in which half of new teachers don't make it. I've had my crosses to bear in these last four years, but all of the difficulties I've endured were backed by a supportive administration. If I didn't have that support, I surely would have become one of those 5 year statistics. With everything that a new teacher gets bombarded with, it's no wonder so many of them walk away if their administration leaves them to the wolves.
Even though this will be my 5th time doing this, I still get nervous. I'm always afraid I'll forget what I wanted to say, I'll have no idea what to do, and/or the kids won't like me (which as a teacher I could care less about, as long as they're learning from me, but as a person, I secretly want them to like me).
With the nerves, however, I still get excited about the wonder and possibility of a new year and a new class of students. Whenever I'm talking about my students outside of school I always call them my kids. Since I don't have children of my own, I get to lay claim to about 50 or so children for about seven hours a day, five days a week, nine months of the year. Just like parents do, I feel proud whenever they hit a milestone. Though instead of crawling, talking, and walking, the impetus for my excitement is when they show an untapped talent for writing, find a book they love for the first time, or hand me a draft of a poem that moves me to tears. These are the moments that help me to remember why I'm here - beyond the politics, the difficult parents, and standardized tests, it's really just you in a room with some kids, hoping and praying that your words and actions are making a difference. That's ultimately why I'm here. That's what my hope for tomorrow brings.