Monday, August 11, 2014

Remembering What's Important

The start of a new school year is filled with conflicting emotions. I love the beginning of school. I love new school supplies, setting up the classroom, and thinking about lesson plans. I love receiving my class lists and first emails from parents excited about our year together. Exhilaration runs through my bones, the year can’t come fast enough.

Except when it doesn't. The flip side of this impatience to begin the year is a panic that I won’t be ready. Looking around my room I’m hit with an ever-mounting to-do list that I know I can never complete.

This panic threatens to overshadow my joy about a new year. Luckily a few reminders today put the true importance of a new school year back in focus. I have been mainly working on my room at night during my son’s football practice. It seemed to make sense, I figured I had to be there already, why not use my time wisely? I realized today what was missing. 

Dropping by school to do just a couple of things in my classroom, I had the chance to visit with fellow teachers, custodians, secretaries, and my principal. I realized how much I had missed these friends this summer and how excited I was to get the chance to spend another year together. Of course, this meant I didn’t get as much done in my room as I would at night alone, but it was time well spent.

The other reminder came from a former student, Aaron. Aaron was in my reading class two years ago and had offered to come vacuum my carpet. Aaron has several passions. When he was in my class he educated me in the finer points of electric pencil sharpeners and vacuums on a regular basis. When Aaron found out that I was setting up for the year, he had his dad send me a message to see if he could clean my carpet with his vacuum. His dad, Dan, told me he has over 40 vacuums in their home. His favorite is a professional grade Electrolux. I’m not exaggerating to say that I think Aaron knows more about the Electrolux vacuum than their sales people do. I had a blast talking to him about it, seeing how appalled he was that I own a Dyson, and catching up in general. When I asked Aaron what advice he’d give my son who was starting 6th grade this year, he wisely shared that Luke should do his homework immediately after school each day and not put it off. Common sense, short and sweet, that is Aaron.

Friends, students, learning, and more. That’s what the school year is about. My panic is subsiding and the excitement is building. August 20th, it won’t be long now.

Slice of Life is sponsored on Tuesdays by Two Writing Teachers.