Every August, I feel inadequate. I stare into the new school year feeling like a girl scout without all her badges. And this year? I feel like a girl scout without all her badges, AND her hunting knife, AND her fire starter kit.
What if I told you I still have to finish reading a book I assigned for summer reading? What if I said I haven’t figured out which novels I will be teaching this year?
How do I want to change the English III syllabus? I have to write the joint lesson plans for the high school summer reading novel. The new homework policy must be tweaked and finalized.
Are there any new school rules I will have to be aware of?
When did I last get to the grocery store?
I can’t forget to bring the classroom plants back in the morning.
And oh. my. goodness! Can I just go to sleep!?!?
If you’re not a teacher, maybe those question don’t illicit a single stress bubble. But if you are a teacher, you know the kind of stomach-clenching tension this might cause.
This will be my 15th year in the classroom. There is not a single first day of school that my stomach isn’t tied into knots. (Whoop, there it is) Fear.
BUT, fear never breeds success.
The important is difficult. It is an upward climb. And it’s worth it. It’s worth letting go of the fear and saying yes to another year of difficult days.
This afternoon, while taking my children bowling, I heard a whispered “Mrs. Iseminger” in the background. I turned to see two men (because that’s what they are now), headed in my direction. Two former students that had been just tiny 8th graders the first time I met them. Two bear hugs with lit-up faces giving me a faint glimpse of the 13-year-olds they used to be. There, in the most random of places today, stood two students who had found success. My heart filled with joy as I stood smiling back at them.
Now, I wonder tonight. What if I had given in to fear and darkness the year I taught them? I would have missed the joy today—joy that came almost a decade later.
That’s the thing about teaching. We fight the daily fear to witness the future. The future is nourished in our classrooms.
And so tomorrow I will bring courage to fight the fear. Because I don’t want to miss the joy the future brings. Tomorrow is a new year, so tonight I will kiss summer good-bye with a grin on my face. because I refuse to let fear win!