Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Day 1: To my kids, to their parents

Day 1.  I am starting my 12th year of teaching, and it never fails...the butterflies.  I'm nervous, but more than anything, I'm excited.  As we start this new year's journey, a few thoughts for my kiddos and their parents.

Kiddos- I know you are in high school.  I know you are hormonal teenagers.  I know you probably feel like you're too old to listen to someone say they care about you.  Well...get over it!  I am genuinely so excited to work with you this year.  I am excited to walk on this journey with you.  I'm excited to do this together.  Notice I've chosen my words carefully, to convey to you the fundamental reality of our work- it is a together mission.  I may be the teacher, but I look forward to learning from you.  I may have a bit more knowledge right now, but your voice, your mind, your heart have tremendous value, something to offer that I can learn from.  And it goes without saying that I hope you can learn from me as well.  Our success this year will be measured together.

I cannot tell you how every single day will go right now, but there are a few promises that I can make to you.  One is that I will never lie to you.  I will be quick to praise your success, and I want to do what I can to help you be the best version of yourself if I have concerns.  I will set high expectations for you, because I believe you can reach them.  I will be there to listen and help, both with class-related issues or otherwise, if you will let me. I will not be perfect. I will admit my mistakes, and work to make them right.  Most of all I will care about you, regardless of how hard you try to make it so I can't.

I hope you have goals for this year, and if I can help you, please ask.  I think it is important that you know that I have goals as well.  I want to do a better job of communicating with home.  If I have a concern that needs to go home, it will.  But I want to make sure I am letting home know when you've done something great!  That is just as, if not more, important.  I want to continue working on giving up control in OUR classroom to you the students.  Each of you is capable of bringing something great to our classroom; I need to make sure I am listening.

This will be a great year, and I look forward to our work together!
Parents-  If there is one thing I would say to you, beyond what I've said to your child, is to tell you that I am so thankful that I have been given the opportunity to work with your child.  A primary mantra I have long held as a teacher is "to be the teacher I want my own kids to have."  It is never lost on me, I never forget, that each day you are giving me the thing most precious in your life, and trusting me.  What an incredible honor, and extraordinary mission!  I can promise you that I will keep that mission at heart, and I will care about and challenge your child, just as I would want my own son's teacher to do for him.  Thank you for giving me this opportunity.
Emerson once said, "Life is a journey, not a destination". I hope that, in the end, we can look back together, and see that this journey has been one in which we've grown, and grown together.  Be open to that journey.  See the dead ends and avoid them if you can.  If not, realize that we often learn more from times we've lost than times we've won.  Find pride in the person you are, not effort in becoming someone you're not.  Find, and stick to, those that add to your life, not subtract.  Move forward with passion.  And remember that there are people in this place that care about you, and trust them. Cheers to our journey!

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