There are lots of opportunities in our lives for a new beginning. Some of the opportunities are happier than others - New Years, our birthdays, new job, move to a new house, birth of a child, marriage, death of a loved one... The one that I look forward to each year is the start of a new school year. There is a sense of excitement and anticipation.
This summer was full of fun and relaxation. I read books for pleasure, kayaked with my daughter, husband and friends, walked many miles while pushing my dog in her stroller, and went on a wonderful camping trip to northern Wisconsin. I had the pleasure of seeing the Shakespeare play "Midsummer Nights Dream" with my family in Spring Green. I went to see Dark Knight in the theater. Life this summer was pretty nice.
In the back of your mind you are always thinking of the school year that is upcoming. I had a wonderful class this summer titled "Web 2.0 tools for the classroom". It was one of the best classes that I have had. I had a new intel Mac with Leopard and I installed Pixie 2 software on it to get ready for this year. I was never far from my computer and my online PLN (personal learning network). I explored new websites, discovered podcasts and looked at online programs that might be of interest to me or my fellow teachers.
I had health problems this summer with the discs in my neck. I discovered chiropractic care and had a session of accupuncture. I had a professional therapeutic massage. I did neck traction on a daily basis. The pain I felt was always on my mind and affected everything that I did. It is exhausting and disheartening. A part of you is always holding back. For a woman that has "action" as her middle name, this has been a difficult thing for me.
Part of a new beginning is looking back at how you have done things and deciding what you are going to change as you go forward. I have made the decision to not let my pain stop me in my every day life. I have also promised myself to not get stressed about wanting things to be "ready and working" for the staff at school and "be responsible" for things that I have no control over. This is of course easier said than done. I am trying.
I started school over a week ago. My principal called and asked if I wanted to get computers ready before the staff started at one of the schools I work at. I jumped at the opportunity! Of course I could not "fix" everything. The things that are not in my control I am letting go of. The scheduling of my classes for this year has not gone smoothly like I anticipated it would last spring. I am learning that the little and large frustrations of working in a school district do not go away just because you wish them too. On a good note, the first staff day back, our school district hosted 5 other districts for a presentation from Dr. Leonard Sax concerning the gender differences in the brain and how it affects students learning. His presentation turned upside down many of the things that many in the audience had learned in college about boys and girls. His knowledge as a doctor, his credibility in this field of scientific brain research and the recent knowledge gained by using MRI scans on young students made it clear to his audience that we need to think about our students differently. I loved that our district shared in bringing a world renown presenter to central Wisconsin. It was a fantastic speech and one that I hope will make an impact on our thoughts and actions in the classroom. It had the power to change how teachers teach.
Change is necessary for all of us to move forward in our lives. An ending occurs and has to happen for a beginning to start. I am a lucky to be given the opportunity each fall to start anew.