Friday, August 29, 2008

Week One: Anxiety Dreams

My first few years of teaching always began with a series of anxiety dreams before the first day of school. These dreams would involve a wide array of horrible mishaps -- no roll sheet, no classroom, students throwing desks, etc. I have completed the first week of my 12th school year and while the anxiety dreams have subsided -- due more to my exhaustion after caring for three young boys all summer than confidence -- I still wonder if this will be the year that one of those mini-nightmares will come true. I love the first days of school -- sharpened pencils, eager smiles, fresh folders and neat backpacks, but I worry that trouble may be lurking.

So far though, this has not happened. Partly that comes from working in a fabulous school where our weak air conditioning and a great demand for advanced classes are among our only problems. But I think the positive first days also come from my sincere love of being a teacher. When students walk into my classroom, I am so eager to find out more about who they are, what their passions are, what dreams they have for themselves and I believe it is a privilege to be a part of those dreams becoming reality. Students put a little piece if their spirit into the hands of their teachers. I could take that and lay it on a table, never to acknowledge it again. I could squeeze it until it burst. I could dangle it over a trash can to humiliate it. Or -- and what I hope I do -- I could hold it tenderly and nurture it until it was ready to take flight on its own. What a gift we have been given in these young minds and spirits! I hope to appraoch each day with this attitude so that my students and I can reveal the best of who we are.