I received the envelope in the mail. This is the envelope that says, "The party's over!!" No, seriously, it is the annual "back to school" letter that every teacher receives stating our marching orders. Thankfully my "marching orders" are bathed in love and blessings from a man who loves the Lord and prays for me and our entire staff. The time is drawing near. I am working through my initial anxiety and massaging my brain into "teacher-mode". I am blessed beyond measure to have a job....simple as that. I am blessed beyond measure to have a job where I get to love teenagers and watch them blossom into beautiful young adults. I am blessed beyond measure to be able to go to work in a Christian school where I can proclaim the name of Christ, relate everything to the glory of God and His plan, pray and read scripture openly in the classroom. There were thirteen years of teaching where I did not have the privilege of freely proclaiming the name of Christ in the classroom. God allowed me ways to love and witness, but it wasn't the same. Working in a Christian school has been a huge transition for me....one that has had many surprises along the way. (I will address those surprises in a future post)
As the big day approaches, my mind begins to churn. It reminds me of water heating to boil or better yet---the spin cycle on the washing machine. It starts slowly and then begins to spin wildly. This is what I am learning to control and pace. I begin scouring the hundreds of sources for new choral music, listening to samples, walking through my schedule in my mind, and planning the programs and trips. I get out my worn out copy of The First Days of School by Harry K. Wong and reread the same chapters and worn out pages that help me focus. I begin to wonder how I will get my room prepared with all the meetings required during the week and a half of pre-planning. Somehow it always gets done. The anxiety of all the details.....the pressure of all the "business" that has to be done can sometimes drive you to sitting and staring at the wall wondering where in the world to begin. The endless meetings, lists, and surprises of "new ways of doing things" can be overwhelming. One has to work hard to be calm. While we are reading through the staff handbook page by page, hour by hour.....my mind begins the spin cycle. It starts of slowly. But by the second hour of talking about tardies, absences, electronics on campus, and uniform infractions, my mind is rocking----unbalanced----just like my old washing machine when I don't balance the clothes properly! It is wild and loud! So if you see me get up in a meeting and go get some water.....it is usually to "balance the clothes in the load" so I can focus and lower my anxiety. I keep thinking about how many things I need to be doing in my classroom to prepare for the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL. I realize, of course, that many of the things we do are very important, but none are as important as a teacher having a calm mind, thoughts and plans in order, and prepared for the precious gifts we will receive on the first day of school----the students.
So when it is all said and done.....all the meetings are over (for pre-planning week anyway), the crisis manual presented, the staff handbook has been issued, the bulletin boards are up, the class rosters are in my hand, lesson plans are written, objectives for the year have been turned in--------the day arrives and in they walk-----and all is well. After all, the students are the reason I am a teacher. It is definitely not all the other things. It is the faces staring back at me that make all the anxiety melt away.
Bring on the students!
I am ready to be a teacher again.