Ask any veteran teacher why they chose this profession, and they will inundate you with a number of valid answers, both tangible and intangible. Ask any unprofessional teacher why they chose this profession and they will probably wink and say three words: June, July and August.
Many teachers can agree that these dreamy months of leisurely days spent with kids or friends or family, (if you are lucky enough to scrape by without a summer job) are pretty darn sweet. However, they aren’t sweet enough to combat the stress, the worries, the long school days and lesson-plan filled nights involved with teaching to make it the ONLY reason to get into this field. I might venture to say that if summers off are the only reason you chose to get into this profession, you might not be making a lifelong career out of it.
Because just like the spring reemerges after every dismal and snowy winter, so does the school year after every happy hour filled summer. With it will come piles of grading, hours of standing, eye rolling, no-you-can’t-go-back-to-your-locker-ing, and e-mails galore. I can taste the sense of dread in the air when discussing back-to-school woes with fellow educators. I even have to catch myself from succumbing to the negativity of it all.
What we need to realize, before we let our heads explode with the never-ending to-do list that comes with the first week of school, is realize that the thought of tackling the tasks on that list is much more frightening than the actual in-classroom experience. You’ve started the school year successfully before, and you will start the school year successfully again – probably even better than you started it last year. I mean come on, you have one more year of experience under your belt now.
Going back into school then, can be made much more painless if we treat it like a band-aid that is ripped off with reckless abandon. It’s decided upon and done quickly, with the pain lasting only a second, instead of slowly and arduously, suffering through every minor detail.
My advice to you is this: if you must prepare for hours and hours before the first day, do so with pride and know that you are making life easier for yourself (and probably your students) in the long run. However, if you are one of those people who wait until the last minute (bless you), embrace every moment of the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-own-pants first week of school and know that you lived deep, and sucked the marrow out of your summer like only a true teacher can.
What we need to realize, before we let our heads explode with the never-ending to-do list that comes with the first week of school, is realize that the thought of tackling the tasks on that list is much more frightening than the actual in-classroom experience.
However you choose to begin your year, do your best to begin it with conviction, not complacency. Remember the difference you have already made with your old students, and the light-bulb moments you are bound to experience with your new ones. Embrace the fact that your year can be as perfectly planned or spontaneously improvised as you would like. If that is too terrifying of a thought, just remember that you can and will handle every situation that is put in front of you this September, and every month after that.
How do I know you can handle it, you ask?
Well… June, July & August.