Tuesday, September 8, 2015

They're Back!

Many of us in education chose this profession to help children to become adults, and to teach them a thing or two along the way. This opening day was as exciting as my first opening day; it simply never gets old. Summertime is great, but it is lonely without the students around. I begin to feel like a grumpy old man dealing with "big people problems".  As soon as the students step off of the buses, the big people problems go away, and I instantly feel about twenty years younger.

As tough as it is as parents to watch our children drive away in the big yellow bus, or close the car door and run up to the school, can you put yourself back into their shoes and imagine how they really feel? I would love to ask an astronaut how they felt the first time they exited the earth's atmosphere, because I bet that a kindergartner stepping off of the bus for the first time must feel the same way.

A new environment, decisions to make that they have never had to make before, and experiencing feelings that they were only told they would feel. Bravely, they make their way to their classrooms. They share glue sticks, playthings and learn to listen and to raise their hands if they have a question.

By the second or third day it is as if they had been there all year. It is truly an amazing thing to watch, and the raw emotion that you see from our youngest students has not changed in twenty years. At that age kids really are, well, kids!

On the flip side, I want to take an opportunity to wish our recent graduates well, either in college, the workforce, or the military. I was exceptionally close to our most recent graduates because my son was one of them, and I think the hardest thing for them to realize is that any reputation they had, good or bad, is now gone; it is up to them to forge their way. They too are brave.

What was expected of them by us goes out the window, and what they expect of themselves takes over. That can be scary for students who were coddled maybe a little too much growing up. It has been very interesting to watch this group free fall, collect, scatter, and land on their collective feet. There are many success stories and "high school underdog to adult champion" stories in the making. Enjoy!

It was a great opening day, and I look forward to sharing stories of our first week when I write again.