Happy New Year! Today was the first day back to school for the public school teachers and the students in our town. I love this time of year. A mixture of hope, nervousness, excitement, and anticipation. To me, “Back-to-School” feels much more like a new year than January 1st ever will.
There has been a “Back to School” time as long as I can remember. For the most part, I really liked to go to school. And as early as third grade, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher. The church my family attended met in a school. On Sundays, during coffee hour, I would wander around the school, looking through the class windows at bulletin board displays and classroom set ups. One fortunate day, my sister and I rescued some old teaching manuals out of the trash in the school. I was ecstatic to find those manuals and can remember thumbing through each page imagining what it was like to be a teacher. Most days, I could not wait to get home from school so I could PLAY school. I created worksheets for my imaginary students and corrected”their” work. I would take “them” to imaginary assemblies and field trips. And I kept a Teacher’s Record Book and Attendance!
As I got older, my imaginary students turned into real ones. I started taking care of children in the church nursery and teaching Sunday School. In high school, I participated in our high school’s preschool program as a student leader. Deciding that I wanted to be a teacher was one of the easiest decisions that I ever made and when it was time to go to college I knew exactly what direction to go in.
My first teaching job was a dream job! It was on a small island accessible by ferry. I had five students. I was fresh out of college with a degree in special education and I was ready to inspire, motivate, and lead my unknown students to success. I can vividly remember sitting at the teacher orientation breakfast. It was held in an island hotel, the wind was whipping against the building, postcard ocean views could be seen from every angle. Staring out to the ocean, I felt so extremely thankful and blessed. It was almost too good to be true. I was a teacher! From that moment on, I told myself to try to never take things for granted and every day try to take in as much life as I could.
Over the years, my teaching experience has grown and my life had taken me many places. In those seven years between my first job and staying home with my children, I had the privilege of teaching in three different states to three very different populations of students. In each state, in each classroom, there were no two things the same except ONE- my feelings of gratitude and the excitement for the start of the school year.
This year is just like any other, the same feelings of excitement and anticipation for a new year are flickering in my heart and mind. My classroom is no longer housed on an island or in a public school. My classroom is my house and my students are small in number. Only two this year! Everything still feels the same. There is a room to be rearranged, school supplies to buy, desk name plates to be carefully and lovingly written, a new curriculum to be excited for. And a bulletin board to create!
Years of teaching and motherhood have brought me to this point. It is such a blessing to be able to look back on your life and see God’s hand connecting the dots. From the earliest desires to teach, to small group instruction in public schools, to holding my babies in my arms, and now to teaching them at home, God has been with me through every step and allowed me to gain knowledge to be used for the next one. Every day, I strive to do better than the last and to improve myself and my attitude. So with that, here’s to another year of TEACHING and LEARNING! It is going to be great and I cannot wait to see what is in store!
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a]and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11, English Standard Version (ESV)
PS We are extending our summer. Our first day of homeschool will be September 1st. Homeschoolers privilege. 🙂