18 August 2007

Starting a New School Year

Back to School for 2007-2008 School Year

I'm back at school, and after the first week of being with children, I am happy to be starting my thirty-second and one-half year of teaching. Of course the first week is our honeymoon period. Ever student is on their best behavior. I'm still in their good graces and haven't asked them to do too much, yet. The smiles on my student's face makes every day I'm there worth the hard work it takes to do my job. We also have many new and young teachers on our staff. There is a lot of very positive energy and enthusiasm which I know will really help my school.

Every new school year is a new start with new hope. I even know that students who were difficult to work with last year, can be very different in the next. I'm often asked why I don't retire, well in what other profession can I begin a new each August, and have as much love in my life as I do with teaching. What other profession can I know that I have made a difference in some way for at least some of the people I've worked with. Also, in most other professions there are always “down times” that can be boring. There is never a boring minute in teaching.

I had a wonderful conversation with a girl in my advisory class about the death of Dulce and that of her first dog. The empathy of some 12 year old girls has delighted me over the years. Twelve year old girls often reinforce my belief that we have past lives and old or young souls. I've know too many twelve year old girls that had the grace, wisdom and presence that can only go with an old soul.

I'm still mourning the loss of Dulce, my cat that lived over twenty years. I miss waking up and finding her curled around my head on my pillow. I miss our twice daily ritual of the past 20 plus years of my stroking her soft back as she eats. I miss having her curl up in my lap, and the worst is not seeing her in the window watching and waiting for me to come home from school each day. I haven't stopped missing Tesuque, my other cat who died about one and one-half years ago. Or Polly, but the year that has passed helps. Dulce's death is so close by, and she was with me for so very long.

It is unfortunate to have had all our cats be about the same age because the loss of so many so close to each other has been devastating to us. We still have Quatro and Cassy, and we are giving them all our love. The death of their fellow cats has hit them in many aspects. They were always on the lower rung of the kitty social ladder. They were always the cats that weren't into cuddling. Quatro has always been on the edge between feral and tame, yet lately he is crawling into my lap more often. Of course never for very long, but I feel honored that he comes in the first place.

To my fellow teachers beginning school soon, remember that the love and caring you give your students will repay you time and time again. Start each year viewing every student, even those you already know too well, as perfect children. They will be more responsive to you if you do. Remind them everyday just how glad you are to be there, how much you love your subject and how much your job means to you. Show passion for your work, and tell them something unusual about your subject. Smile, smile, smile until your face knows nothing but smiling. Take the time to say something nice to as many students as you can. Thank your students for their good behavior from the first minute, and always try to be positive. Work hard to learn their names by their faces, not by where they sit, as soon as possible. I promise you this is the best way to start a new school year.

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