Ok, it's back to school time. What does that mean for you? What do you feel about the start of a school year, even if you are not on that schedule (cause you have another kind of job or don't have kids affected by school schedules)?
I want to tell you that I feel incredibly excited for school to start. The countdown to the last day of school is BANNED on our campus (at least where I can hear it or see it!) - it sends the strong message that the start of summer is MORE important than the work of school. And if that message is true, the teacher counting down should be counseled toward a career that can't directly influence children. And, more importantly, if the student is counting down, then the teacher should be counseled to be better at his/her job OR be counseled toward a career that can't directly influence children! If you can't WAIT for the end of something, then the "something" must not be giving you what you need! If you can't wait for it to start, then it must be worth doing, right?!
Teachers, I want you to think about this...why do you teach? Why did you start teaching in the first place? If you can HONESTLY (even after drinking some truth serum) say that you started teaching or you still teach because you Love Learning and helping others do that is more intrinsically rewarding than any other career for you, then I challenge you to start this year with a new and improved way of thinking....am I doing ALL I can do for this kid? What about this kid? And this one?
Here are the key questions - only three! Ask these every day about every kid...and then answer them for yourself:
What do my students know?
What are they missing?
What am I going to do about it?
The kids walk through our schools on the first day of school with a bag...not just a backpack, but BAGGAGE. We can't always recognize it, we can't do much about the fact they have it, and we can't be there at home to prevent them from every getting it. But we CAN do something about mitigating for the baggage. We can make sure that every child is LOVED at school - by us. We can believe in each child, and communicate that powerful belief that anything is possible to each and every one of them every day. We can create engaging and meaningful learning opportunities for a diverse group of kids and then keep them so engaged that the last day of school brings them sadness to think about being away from the learning, and brings their hopes and dreams alive in their hearts and minds. We can leave our own baggage in the car in the parking lot....don't worry, it will be there when we come back to the car at night! But we owe every kid on our watch the very best work of our careers.
So team....our students are waiting to have the best year of learning ever. Who will give them that - will you?