The final hours

Summer is coming to an end. It has been a restful and weird summer. Starting with Covid we set a tone for just reading, tanning, and swimming. I have loved my time in the yard and the low-stress summer that has afforded me time to recharge for the coming school year.

Now we sit 40 or so hours away from another school year beginning. I am not certain how I feel. I have ideas for what I hope to do with the students. I have things I plan to change and a few things I plan to keep. This will be the first time in many years that I have totally brand new students. That has me a bit more anxious than I expected.

Over the last few years, I moved with classes. Some kids I have taught every year for the last 3 or 4. This year as the Grade 9 students come into my classroom it will be the first time I have taught any of them. I am excited about new AND not certain I have the energy to rebuild everything. The “routines and expectations” talks have been light over the last few years. Kids knew. That will not be the case this year.

I am not certain how much longer I will be teaching when I look at the big picture. Changes in educational systems are making me lose the love for teaching I once had. The breakdown in expectations that still are being blamed on Covid and the loss of in-school learning that creates more management issues than teaching opportunities is not something that inspires me to keep working. The students have always been the reason I love my job. The joy of reading work they are proud of, the excitement as they talk about new books.

I want to say I am hopeful that we will be able to get back to the good stuff but I am not sure. Things have changed and I guess the question I keep asking myself is, Do we accept a new normal where we lower expectations? or Do we ask students to rise to the occasion? Challenge them and support them along the way? I lean toward the latter.

So with fingers crossed and a deep breath we head back to the classroom.

Hoping for a great year and for it not to be my last.

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