Friday, August 28, 2015

Year 6: Week 0 – That Feeling Of Being Ready

I have never felt fully prepared for the beginning of the school year.

My wife makes fun of me for kind of being a boy scout when we go on trips. I always make sure to back extras of almost everything. This used to cause me more stress than benefit so with Diana’s help, I’ve eased off the craziness of trying to pack everything we could possible need and enjoying traveling a little bit more.

So why have I never started the school year with everything in its place and feeling ready to go?

The three times I was a new teacher at a school, it was impossible to be fully prepared. It is true as it is often said at my school that you really have to live through the year of a school and experience the year. You can prepare to a point but you have to be okay with not fully understanding events that happen in the school year and go with things as they come.

What about the other years, that I had ALL of summer break to prepare for the upcoming school year? There’s a lot of things that end up coming up like getting married, summer camps, moving, having a newborn baby at home and "life."   I’ve tried many different approaches to doing work over the summer and while things get done, work over the summer is never as productive as getting work done during the year. Other faculty and administrators may not be checking their email as often but the main problem is that without the energy of the kids, it’s really hard to stay focused and motivated.

I’ve learned to accept and be at piece with this feeling I get every fall when I don’t feel prepared at all for my kids. A lot of this is a feeling. I have music ordered; I’ve done a fair amount of organization in my classroom. I’m actually not in bad shape. But I would like to be further in my curriculum planning and I still have a bout sixty names to learn and seating charts to make, and music to learn, and photocopies to make, and supplies to order and . . . ugh.

Embracing the experience of being a teacher means that we understanding that teaching is a practice and that it is an art form that is never fully mastered and therefore can never be done.  Preparing is critical as a teacher and we should strive to set-up our classrooms and plans for our students' success.  But if you keep chasing the feeling of having every little thing in place, you will continue to be stressed out because you can't prepare for kids you don't know yet and the crazy unexpected events that happen every day in schools.

I get it y'all, it's super-stressful to get prepared for the beginning of the school year.  We all share that feeling of being of not being as prepared as we would like when the kids enter the room.  It's okay.  This feeling comes from a place of care and not feeling this way is a sign of apathy.

Be as prepared as you can be.  If not everything gets done, it's okay.  Work with what you got.  The most important thing we offer our kids it not an immaculate bulletin board or a perfectly planned lesson.  What makes the impact in our students' lives is our attention, our presence and our sincere interest in our students as learners and wonderful human beings.    

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