I blinked this morning. In the millisecond it took my upper lashes to meet my lower lashes, summer ended. Usually, I bemoan this. Three months is never enough time to recuperate from the school year, from the millions of questions asked by dozens of students, from the endless meetings, from the piles of essays, or from the general entirety of the the position of “teacher.” Yet, September is but a few days away and I sit now at my desk surrounded by my classroom’s walls. Once penned in by anxiety and trepidation, these walls feel very differently in year four. Will I get it all right this year? Probably not. Will it be a little easier this year? Probably not. No longer frightened by this, I feel excited to see my students again, excited for the routine again, and excited to be making an impact again. While the summer is a luxurious vacation from reality, the reality of the school day provides so much grounding to my spirit. Perhaps this is the first time I am appreciating this and looking forward to the year ahead and not back as the summer fades.
Who knows what will happen in these four walls. Some of the material will be the same, but so much of it will be different. No matter how many times I examine the American Revolution for example, each class and each student understands, feels, and sees it differently. Being a teacher is therefore an exhilarating position. I am constantly on my toes trying my best to build a classroom environment that is comfortable for all student learning and styles. While I may get tired, I never get bored.
The students are probably spending these last few days soaking up as much sleep and friends as they can. Perhaps some of them are even on some fabulous vacation. What they don’t know is I am here building up the classroom. Nesting in my space with paper, posters, colors, crayons, and postcards. The walls were so white this morning. A new year and a clean slate for all occupants. A little TLC has transformed these four walls into something warmer. Into a room that eagerly waits for its new atmosphere of laughter, questions, curiosity, and creativity. The potential is palpable.
Some paper poofs I made to hang from the ceiling
A small glimpse of a decorated board
Some goofy post cards to break from strict History Curriculum
Oddly, this is also the first year I have not experienced one of those haunting “back to school nightmares” where I am standing in front of the class totally unprepared and petrified. Year four seems to be the year of settling in and becoming comfortable with who I am as a teacher, with how teenagers learn, with the constant source of encouragement I need to be, and with the general demands of the day to day. Finally, I am nesting well here.
Ironically, for some teachers this year, nesting takes on another meaning. A few of the female teachers have come in this week sporting a new bump in the front. I cannot help but be a little jealous of these ladies as they show off their new addition and talk about the sensations of motherhood, the anticipation of their babies, and the plans they have for their maternity leaves. There is this deep desire within me to start trying for a little one of my own…yet the other half of me knows that the timing is not just right. I mean David and I just bought a house and have barely settled in and have hung rarely a decoration up on the walls. And, I know that I am about to welcome a new crew of young adults into my life who will challenge me, learn with me, work with me, and teach me. These new students will be mine to watch over all day long. But perhaps nevertheless, I am ready for one of my very own. Instead of feeling overly anxious about lesson planning and curriculum development, I find myself bitten more by the “bump bug” than ever before.