Sunday, August 26, 2007

My Favorite Time of the School Year

"Are you crazy, this is your favorite time of the year? The end of the year is every teacher's favorite time, whats wrong with you?" I've asked myself those questions 3 years in a row now and each time I come up with the same answers, yes and I don't know.

This is my 4th year teaching and my 4th year at the same charter school. When I began here I was a new teacher and I felt scared, anxious, excited, and really nervous on the first day of school. After making it through the first year I had a fantastic summer. Drove up to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, camped with my wife and dog for 9 days in the wild. It was fantastic. The last thing I wanted was for the new school year to start; I was loving my summer. Then something fascinating happened.

At our charter school we do orientations, uhhhh, "shared learning sessions" for the first week of the school year. It was during that week, 3 years ago, that I realized something. I was really hopeful. I met with a lot of kids and their parents that week, talked with them, helped them get prepared to begin working on their online coursework, and even saw a few sparks in the eyes of some students., That's when it happened, hope began to grow inside me. I was overcome by it and was giddy for that whole week. I remember saying to myself, the kids did horrible last year, what is going to be different this year? I couldn't answer, I knew I was evolving, but had no idea if the kids would be doing better as a result. I just began to believe they would and as a result hope lit a fire in me. The same thing happened two years ago and then last year also.

Now its the eve of our first shared learning session and I can feel it building in me again. This year is different though, its more powerful. Ive learned more this summer than at any point since I left college. Im extremely excited to share what I learned with my students and see if it can make a difference in their learning. The key to our school is just to get the kids to do their work. Im hopeful that they will, really hopeful, and still a little crazy.

1 comment:

Kimberly said...

This is my favorite time of year, too. I always get a big burst of energy at the beginning of the school year. I think it comes from that same place you discuss - the idea that the kids are just as hopeful as we are... hopefully this year I can find a way to maintain that for the long haul.