This time of year is the hardest for me now that I no longer have a classroom of my own. The reminders that a new school year is getting ready to begin are everywhere. At the store, the school supplies are front and center. I have always had an affinity for school supplies! (Maybe the main reason I started the path of a teaching career! HA!) Pinterest is full of classroom pins with decorations, classroom management ideas, and bulletin boards filling the page. Instagram and Facebook have pictures of teachers enjoying their last few weeks of vacation and sneaking into their school to see if they can walk on the floors yet. (A few of us have been known to sneak in windows to get in our room! Hee, hee!)
This time of year, I start wandering the halls, looking into rooms and observing all the wonderful ideas coming to fruition as teachers put the finishing touches on their classrooms and begin preparing for the first week of school. My heart longs for many aspects of the class; many have nothing to do with the actual room.
I miss the:
- Creativity. The planning of activities, lessons, and questions. Taking the standards and looking at them to develop a game plan of how best to help my students achieve success. Seeing the ideas of students and hearing them explain their thinking. Watching students complete projects and getting to see how they have thought it out.
- Laughter and smiles. I miss the jokes, the stories, and the songs. I miss the cheering and the personalities that would come out when the unexpected occurred.
- Uniqueness of my students. I miss delving in and getting know their likes, dislikes, character, and personality. Thirteen years in the classroom, I taught nearly 300 students and each and every one of them was unique.
- Questions and the stories. I enjoyed the questions! The questions concerning content and skill, but even the questions about what I am having for lunch and the discussion that would follow after I told them it was carrots, cauliflower, and chicken. (They always looked at me like I had three eyes when I first told them.) There were always wonderful stories to hear and some that I may have wished I had not heard. All of which made each day interesting and different.
- Comradery of my fellow teachers. I loved being part of a grade-level group. We were on a mission, partners in arms or fellow shipmates in the voyage of the unchartered waters of a new year. We made things happen, shared the passion and the tears, yet still found fun along the way.
What I miss above all else is the newness. Not simply the newness that occurred at the beginning of the school year, but fresh opportunity every day. I never had the same day twice. I never had a lesson that went the same. Every day was a brand new one with potential and an opportunity for something great to happen! Every year was a chance to start anew with a whole different set of personalities.
There is an old Trace Adkins song that rings true:
“You’re gonna miss this
You’re gonna want this back
You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you’re gonna miss this.”
As I start a new year tomorrow in the position of Instructional Technology Coordinator for another year, I hope to remember the things that I miss. For those memories keep me close to the passion.
There is a beautiful quote by W. Hodding Carter II, that holds true for me.
“There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots; the other, wings.”
― W. Hodding Carter II
You can have roots and wings. The roots hold you fast to a set of beliefs that you can use as your true north. You can measure all of what you know to be true, against future experiences. The wings are for flying and using them to see more than you have ever thought possible.