Well, tomorrow is officially the first day of autumn. This evening was Open House at my school. I am in a new building as of this fall, and have shifted into a 3rd grade classroom. Having an empty shell of a classroom to call my home was a daunting task, but one I took on like a true Joanna Gaines wannabe. It was admittedly overwhelming – having benchmark assessments ready to be administered and scored, Common Core pacing calendars aligned with my lesson plans, and pulling together a classroom library to facilitate Readers’ and Writers’ Workshops.
Having spent some time in the smallest elementary school in my district as a reading teacher, this was quite a dynamic shift. I moved from a “neighborhood school” where I would pass many students walking to school as I pulled into the parking lot, to the largest elementary school in my district. My new building is also the predominant K-4 building in our district based on standardized test scores too.
It really doesn’t matter where I am teaching. It just matters that I am teaching. I love to get up every day and go into school. The rhythm of the academic year suits me best- with the denouement of summer closing one chapter, and the inception of autumn being the next volume to write.
Of all the experiences in life I have had professionally, none makes me feel more joyful than to teach. There is a “night-before-Christmas” energy that is palpable – not just for students but for teachers. We study our roster, laminate everything we can, help co-workers clear paper jams in printers and photocopiers just like we would “make a list and check it twice,” prepare ingredients for recipes, etc.
I even get impassioned reading the scope and sequence of Lucy Calkins’s Units of Study manuals. They are written so passionately – it invokes a spirit of the back-to-school season. You can truly sense her charisma for the written word in her pedagogical guidebooks. Having met her and heard her speak, I can channel her voice reading me the pages.
It’s pure magic.
I have found myself coming full-circle. The little girl I was in the Waldenbooks Store in the Lockport Mall back in the 1980’s is now trying to connect my students with “just right” books, so that it will open doors of opportunity/exploration in their lives. I know, I’m just one educator in their long academic careers, but if I can make the difference for just one child’s life – I have truly served my calling.
So every morning this year, coffee in hand, I will be eagerly preparing for my 21 sweet, squirmy, energetic, thoughtful, sensitive third graders to come cavorting into Room 206. I guess life isn’t so bad after all…
I wish you all a happy, productive year full of “bouquets of sharpened pencils!” (And if you know that movie reference…you get bonus points!)