I love a fresh new year as much as I love a new pair of socks! You know what I mean, right? A fresh pair of socks feels great on the feet as they slide over your toes and up your leg. nothing but potential in a new pair of socks. 30 years into this crazy, exciting world we call education and I still feel the anticipation of a new year like it was my first. Like my socks, full of potential. Each new year brings with it the opportunity to make real difference in the lives of the children we serve.
Starting out as an elementary teacher with 23 grade 2 and 3 kids, I reveled in my job. I didn’t sleep the day before they entered the school, and wouldn’t sleep a night before first day of school for another 25 years. The anticipation was just too great. All of the excitement of those fresh new faces and what they were to uncover in this world kept me up. I hoped that I could live up to the vision I had for myself in helping MY new class see the potential they had.
Now, I work in a central office. This affords me the luxury, and it is a luxury, to look at schools and the system as a bit of an outsider looking in. I love what I see. I started this school cycle working a little with the new teachers to the district. They are a bit wide eyed, unsure of what is in store for them but they have a zest that I wish we could all harness. New teacher energy could power a whole lot of cities. These young teachers are not tainted by the reality of the hard work in front of teachers just yet. They haven’t been humbled by the enormous task that is teaching. They are energy . . . positive and bright.
Directly after the first year teacher day, we had our start up meeting for our administrators. This friendly, driven bunch of people inspire me. They take all of the heat and expectations from parents, teachers, students and even central office and they carry that load with grace and poise, knowing full well that if they carry that weight, the teachers in their buildings can get to the work that is most important – that of helping students grow. Good administrators have fortitude and we have GREAT administrators. On top of fortitude, they have vision, and deep love and connection for the people they lead; teachers, students and parents alike.
Just yesterday we had our District Faith Day, pulling all of our staff in for a day of looking at how we impact the next generation through our interactions with them. Seeing the key note speaker, Jesse Maibusan, talk about the power of joy in our lives was powerful but just as powerful for me was seeing the smiles of the district staff in seeing each other again after a long summer. Teachers who had not seen each other over the warm months reveled in the camaraderie of the day. The smiles were contagious and I was able to sit back and watch the authenticity of the care these people had for each other. It was . . . awesome. I was in awe. Many of these teachers and support staff have been in schools well over 25 years and they still delight in the start up. The experience about how schools work will bode well for deep learning this year. The room was full of love
My next few weeks will be meeting with the district’s instructional coaches. These are dedicated master teachers who are willing to serve. They know that a great teacher may well affect kids so deeply and matter so much, that they will support them on the road to making impact. They believe that education matters and they look deeply at learning and how to best facilitate that within the context of the school day. They offer the wisdom of learning.
Put all these shared strengths in a big ol’ pot; energy, fortitude, vision, experience, faith, joy, love and wisdom. Add a splash of laughter, a dash of curiosity and a whole lot of relationship and we have a pretty good recipe for a wonderful year. Evergreen Catholic staff, I wish you the very best for this year. You matter in the lives of those you serve. Have a great year. Make a difference.
Keep on learning,