For the past week I have been seeing Facebook posts about teachers getting their rooms ready, parents sending their kids to school and students leaving for college. It’s one of my favorite times of year. We all see it differently and it brings so many different emotions.
Very young students are still enthusiastic about the first day of school. They love getting those new backpacks and crayons and it’s all so exciting! It is the parents that have difficulty letting the young ones go. As they get older it becomes less cool to be excited about school the zeal turns to dread and you have to tear them away from their X-Box kicking and screaming.
College freshman are the most extreme. As a high school teacher I have seen it for years. There is the one group that cannot wait to put their high school years far behind them and get started with this new chapter in their life. Some see it as the goal that they have been reaching toward for years. Others see it as the opportunity that their parents never had. A chance to make them proud and at the same time, rise above their current circumstances. Still others just see it as a chance to escape and be on their own and free for the first time in their lives. But not everyone sees it this way. There are those look at college as the wind and waves of a tremendous storm that is about to swallow them. They know the benefits and the opportunities but also recognize that they are leaving their comfort zones, their families and friends. They are leaving high school where many of the decisions were made for them. They realize that this is a time when they will be tested and they will see what they are made of. The beauty is that most of them will conquer that fear and anxiety and rise to new heights that they never imagined and will learn so much about themselves in the process.
That is one of the reasons I love the first day of school. If I could borrow a line from Forrest Gump, “the new school year is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you are going to get!” It’s so true. Generally students are the same year after year but individually they are so unique and every student that comes through my door has something different to bring to the table. Some are funny, some are artistic, some are intellectual but many don’t know what they are. Many of them are floundering around trying to find their niche in this world. They may not find it completely in my class but hopefully, together we can take a step toward finding who they are. What I see is that all of them are beautiful and powerful and my job is to help them figure that out. My mind is filled with anticipation about how I can make their life better and how can they change mine. I know that personally I can never really change the world but I have the opportunity to change the world for about 150 students and they in turn can make a difference. I can help them see things they have never seen and they can help me see life from a new perspective. The magic of a new school year and the first day of school is that the possibilities are endless so let’s get it started! Let’s have a great year!