Another New School Year · 7 September 2019

There is something special about starting the new school year. Even when I have had 24 new school years already (not including those I had as a student).

Fall is the beginning of a new school year. A time to get reacquainted with colleagues. A time to meet new students. And even after twenty-four new school years, I still find a freshness to it all.

Yes, I really do enjoy getting back to school and seeing my colleagues, most of whom I have not seen for a couple months. Many of whom I have had no contact with during that time. I enjoy the camaraderie that we share in our somewhat lonely profession. Lonely simply because we do our own thing with our own students most of the time. But we share the bond of being professionals together and of having the same mostly wonderful students.

Of course, I enjoy seeing the mostly wonderful students too. I especially love the first day when I see the bright shiny faces of students eager and excited for the new year. Some will be graduating in the spring and some are just starting their high school careers. I feel empathy too as I see the wide eyes and fearful faces of those who have no clue whether the stories they heard were true. Whether they might get one of those scary teachers who relish eating students in one bite. I try to calm their fears and let them know that there are few teachers in our school who can eat a student whole in one sitting let alone one bite. But seriously, I like to give them a little comfort and assure them that nobody is going to worry too much that they could not find the shop on the first day. And I let them know that everything will be okay. Just remember to breathe.

Even after twenty-four new school years, I am ready to start the twenty-fifth. I am ready to see the new crop of students come through and make short work of the requirements they need to meet. I am ready to help those along who need that extra push or encouragement. And I am ready to help them all understand that failure is not failure unless it is the last time you are going to try. And that little failures often lead to great successes in the future.

I am also ready to help them all understand that in the grand scheme of thing there is a grand scheme of things. That the little things they learn are part of the big picture. That learning to learn is as important as the learning itself. That software comes and goes, but processes stay much the same. That teachers come and go, but the love for learning and teaching hopefully remain. That this too shall pass. That time may not heal all wounds, but it does lessen the pain. And that not everything teachers teach can be found in a book or on the internet.

As an educator, there is always a scramble to get ready for the students to arrive. There is always more work to be done. But I am ready. I am excited. Even after twenty-four of them, there is still something special about starting a new school year.

© 2019 Michael T. Miyoshi

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