Aren’t you excited? I’m excited. Like all teachers everywhere, I’m getting my mind and heart ready for back-to-school. I’m not ready, but I’m excited. I’m thinking about my core values – Discovery, Sharing, and Joy.
Summer’s nearly over, and here’s the list of things I did not do. I didn’t scrapbook my family photos. I didn’t start my EBay business to get rid of the stuff I didn’t sort through. I didn’t read the entire stack of books by my bed. I didn’t see all the old friends I wanted to see.
Here’s what I did, though. I spent a day at the Smithsonian museums in DC. I saw Titian paintings, the Ruby Slippers, meteors and diamonds, the Bill of Rights, Muppets, and the flag that flew at the Pentagon on 9-12-01. I saw people from all over the United States; and indeed the world, who came to Washington, DC to see our nation’s treasures. I learned a lot in just one day, and that felt good. I spent this day with my husband, and that was wonderful. Discovery.
I did read some books. Beowulf – never tried that one before, and I’m teaching it this year. I’m planning on introducing Beowulf by giving an introduction in Danish. I think the sounds of the language will set the tone. The Great Gatsby – tried it before, but never finished it. I guess it is a good book after all. These is My Words – recommended by my public librarians, and now I’ll recommend it to you. It’s enjoyable. Sharing. I also read the newspaper almost every day – both the front page sadness and the relief of the comic strips.
I sent a daughter to Australia. She’s doing well. I coped with tragedy when my son lost a dear friend in an accident. My son’s doing OK. I think about them both all the time.
I worked on school committees. We’re having daily advisory meetings, and I’m on the committee to plan the lessons and activities. I’m excited about this program, because it will encourage relationship building between teachers and students. I’m on the School Improvement Team, and we’ve met to discuss, plan, and refine initiatives for improvement. I’m now the Senior Class Advisor, with my friend Laura Coe, so I’m planning a Prom! When you’re a teacher you never know what you’re getting into!
I have seen some old friends. I spent a week with a former childcare client. Michael is a charming and inquisitive six-year-old. He is just a lot of fun. We went swimming, we ate lunch at a restaurant, we read books and built battle scenes with action figures. Michael came to school with me one day and enjoyed seeing where the big kids learn. He was not all that impressed. We watched “Finding Nemo”. We met up with Brady, another old friend, who at the age of seven is equally energetic and engaging. We climbed on rocks and watched the skates and jellyfish in the Chesapeake Bay. We went out for ice cream sundaes. We laughed a lot. Joy.
All of these activities involved my mind and my heart. I learned something new, and I remembered what I already knew. Childhood and youth should be a time of Discovery, of Sharing, and of Joy. Adulthood should echo these same qualities.
Let us begin the school year with the memories of summer fun. Let us begin with a renewal of these values – Discovery, Sharing, Joy.
Be Joyous, and Share what you Discover.