I always think of September and the autumn months in general, as a time for new beginnings. Of course, it is time for students and teachers on all levels to return to the classroom. Most students do not realize that teachers and faculty members feel anxious too. They also get butterflies in their stomachs and experience high levels of anxiety the night before meeting their new students.
They worry and wonder things like, “Can I do it? Will this turn out to be a successful year? Will my students be cooperative? Will they be challenging? Or will they become a unit and forge full steam ahead?” I saw a news clip that talked about the stress that students feel before returning to school. But guess what? So do the parents and the teachers.
All are hopeful for a good outcome for all involved. So, yes, we teachers are prepared for the children’s occasional meltdowns and they do come with speed and continuity during that first week of school. We are armed with plenty of boxes of tissues and hugs to soothe the waters.
But the hidden truth is that we educators have our private parties of uncertainty as well. The famed Erma Bombeck said in essence, “Now that I have it all together, I forgot where I put it.” After we have unpacked the boxes, taken down the chairs, thrown out the old furniture and taped down the new name tags, we may feel a sense of readiness.
But then, it dawns on us that we have not prepared what we will teach. So, we sit down and plan lessons and try to fill up the lapses in time and space to create order and discipline. Then, we may think that we are ready, but them oops, we still forgot something that is major in this venture.
We think and ask, “What about these new personalities that are about to enter our clean, neat and organized space? Who are they?” That is when we may sing like Aretha Franklin and “Say a Little Prayer.” Or, we may take Julie Andrews’ lead from The Sound of Music as she blessed the Captain’s children by name to call out each one’s goodness.
Then, we silently bless each little person now in our charge and hope that after our time together, they will leave us as a more knowledgeable and whole person. As I said to a fellow educator, “We can only give them the best of us.”
Lynn M. September 1, 2018