It happens every year without fail. We get a few days in, the year slowly starting, and all of a sudden it hits me; I am doing something wrong. Whatever I thought I was good at, I am clearly not. After all, how can anyone feel this exhausted and consider themselves good at anything?
Driving home today, I kept thinking about how far we still have to go. How much these brand new kids don’t know. How they don’t get me or us. How hard it is to get them started with something, how even the smallest thing takes a long time. How every day goes by in a flash yet seems so long. How a new year is hard and you end up questioning every single thing you do because surely you must be doing something wrong because didn’t this go much better the year before?
But that’s it, isn’t it; it’s a new year. And we forget that when we compare these kids to the kids we just said goodbye to. We forget just how far we came last year and how hard we worked to get there. Those kids that we remember so fondly because of how much learning happened started out confused, unsure, and just a little bit rowdy as well. We forget how much work it is to set up a well functioning classroom, to help kids read, to help kids write, to help kids feel safe, because last year now seems so far away.
So before we give up on ourselves and assume this year is doomed. Before we beat ourselves up too much. Before we wonder if we really know what we are doing, just remember this…
We haven’t figured each other out…yet.
We don’t know each other’s habits…yet.
We don’t have a bond…yet.
We haven’t established our routines…yet.
We haven’t accomplished much…yet.
We do not feel quite like a class…yet.
That takes time, and right now that is one of the biggest things we have. So tomorrow if you go to school wondering if you really know what you are doing, remember this; every single thing you are doing right now is planting a seed for what your classroom will feel like later in the year. So much like we wait to see seed grow into flowers, we also have to wait for our students to bloom. Because the whole year is ahead, a whole year to make this year great, a whole year to have these kids become those kids that we remember fondly when we stand in despair the following year. No matter how long we teach, we seem to always forget that starting a new year is hard, is exhausting, and yet is one of the best parts of the year. After all, we don’t know each other yet, but we are starting to.