When Jacy was six weeks old I returned to school to start a new school year. I was a very sleep deprived mama, which continued to be the case until she began first grade. The kid just doesn't need much sleep. I am not sure how I taught my classes, graded the papers, planned lessons, and smiled. I was exhausted! People would say to me, "It's only a season." This statement did not make me happy.
Then came the season of the girls being in elementary school. My views of homework changed greatly and I ceased all at-home projects for my own students. We all survived again. Kate graduated a few years ago. Last year, Jacy loved her freshman year in high school. All seemed to be running smoothly, when I realized, a new season has begun.
I finished the dissertation. For the first time since I was 3 years old, I do not have an educational goal in front of me. Jacy is in the midst of learning to drive, taking courses to prepare her for college, and finding all sorts of independent things to do with the church youth group. Joey is running a new program and really enjoying it. Kate has flown the nest and is off on her own adventures.
Seasons come and go. Regardless of where you are right now, a new season is coming. Sometimes we can force the season to change through the choices we make, but often things simply have to run the course.
Students are coming to our schools this week in the midst of a season. Some are coming from homes where a new baby has joined the family or maybe a family member has died. Some are experiencing a season of divorce or maybe a new marriage with step-parents and/or step-siblings joining the mix. Some have had siblings move away to college. Some are beginning new activities, joining new teams, or learning new skills. Some are new to our schools. Regardless, all are in the midst of a very individual season.
The number one thing I discovered in all of my dissertation research, which focused on expert teachers from around the nation, is the relationship between students and teachers is the number one factor to the expert's success. These teachers understand each and every child's current season and work to help them be ready for the next one. They also have a solid understanding of their own season.
As we begin school in the next few days or weeks, I challenge you to get to know your students. Talk to them! Learn about their current seasons, their needs, their hurts, their passions, and their activities. You will find new ways to connect with students and open up your own new season as an educator.
Me? I am trying something new this year working with juniors and seniors. I know! I am such a middle school girl!!! However, this is a new season and I am so excited to learn something new. Enjoy each day, as this season will change before we know it. Know this one simply prepares us for the next.
I am a teacher, which in a single word, sums up my passions and my belief in the future.