19 days. 19 days before my back to school nightmares will stop. 19 days before all of those dreams, hopes, wishes and fears become reality. 19 days before the first day of school. Before they come. Before they enter our classroom, see all of our books, and hope that this year will be amazing. 19 days seems so close yet so very far away.
I have spent a great part of the summer being afraid of the year to come. Being afraid of the dreams I have for the year. Being afraid of how I want it to be better than the last year but now quite sure how to make it better. I think fear is common when we strive to be better. I have run lesson plans through my mind, thought of possible scenarios, created and torn down the paths we may walk. It is so hard to plan for a year when the students are not here yet.
Yesterday, I finally realized that while the curriculum calls, it is not what is most important right now. It is not what I need to first focus on. I speak about how our classrooms should be all about the students and how important that first day is and then forget to listen to my own words. I am probably sick of my own voice by now.
So on the first day of school we will start with a picture book, we will start with conversation. We will start not by speaking of all the things we have to get done, but all of the hopes that we have. The students will speak more than me. On the first day of school I will not worry about curriculum, but rather about how they feel. How they feel after our first class together. How they feel about the year.
Because we can prepare and plan. Because we can create and get ready. Because we can see the path that lies before us and take the very first steps. And we will do all of that. But we will also celebrate that we get to be together. That we get to share 7th grade together. So I will not plan much to do. I will not plan for many things to be completed. I will instead plan for the emotional experience that I would like them to experience; that this room is theirs, that this room is safe, that this year will be special. That they matter and that their voice matters..
Now I just have to remember my own plans.
If you like what you read here, consider reading my book Passionate Learners – How to Engage and Empower Your Students. Also, if you are wondering where I will be in the coming year or would like to have me speak, please see this page.