I love the back-to-school season. Though I know that I will miss the ease of summer days, just the thought of getting back to the classroom brings joy. Entering the long drive leading to BHS, passing the field full of students practicing, hearing the marching band and drumline play — it truly warms me.
As a teacher, it’s easy to get caught up in the preparation of it all. While summer days offer ease, they still include work. Most of us spend much of the break bettering our practice, but during that last week before school begins everything amps up. We attend professional development sessions and department meetings. We devise and facilitate collaborative workshops. We organize and decorate our spaces. We create lessons, buy school supplies, and develop goals. We even experience back-to-school anxiety dreams. It’s a lot to do and it’s hard.
Today, after spending the day with colleagues at our annual PD conference, hearing everyone talk about feeling overwhelmed by everything that comes with this time of year, I decided to head back to BHS. All the talk panicked me a bit. My intent was to get in some more prep for the first week of classes before picking up my daughter and helping her pack for her very first sleepover. I had a lot on my mind. Then, I began the slow drive into the BHS parking lot. I saw the faces of the students. I heard the music of the band. I watched these amazing young people getting ready to start their year. I pulled into the teacher's lot and really looked at the backdrop of painted rocks. Immediately, all the stress of preparation disappeared and was replaced with a wave of warmth.
This is what is great about teaching. This feeling of being part of a community of people who are all learning and pursuing their passions and figuring out who they are. Everyone in the building is growing through interactions with each other. Watching transformations on a daily basis is a pretty powerful thing. So, as the ease of summer days abruptly shifts to the frenzy of lessons and bells and grading, I am reminded of what makes all of that worthwhile. I choose to ignore the teacher memes flooding social media, feeding that frenzied feeling. Instead I am focusing on the joy of it all.
I am grateful to work in this profession. It is emotional and it is exhausting, but it is wonderful. I am grateful for the drive into the parking lot and for drumline practice. I love back-to-school season, and I feel ready for another year.