Ahhh, the beginning of a new school year is upon us. We are all asking ourselves what happened to our gloriously carefree days of summer as we prepare for the kiddos who will soon be walking through our classroom doors.
I remember going to the secretary and getting my class list. My eyes quickly scanned the roster to see if I got “that kid.” You know, the one whom we’ve all heard about from the previous teachers? The one who sat in the principal’s office more than the classroom? Yea, that one.
I distinctly remember getting one of those students whose reputation preceded him. On the first day of school, he sauntered into my classroom with the “I don’t care about anything” swagger and found a seat in the very back of my room. I was determined to form my own thoughts about him and all of my students. I didn’t want the opinions of others to sway how I perceived a kid. Like everyone, he needed a fresh start and an opportunity to be free from the baggage of past mistakes.
That young man was no angel, but I really did like him. He had a fun sense of humor and was super smart, but achieved little. However, every day was a new day for him and my other students. They didn’t just get a clean slate at the beginning of the school year, but every single day.
At the end of the year, I got gold. What is gold to a teacher? It is affirmation that you are making a difference in someone’s life. In his journal he wrote: I am a bad kid, but Mrs. Eich gives me a chance every day. She doesn’t make me feel worthless like some do, and I think she actually likes me. I thought this year would be like all of the other years, but it wasn’t so bad. Thanks, Mrs. Eich for making it fun and giving me a chance to be better. I learned a lot from you.
This brings back beautiful memories, and the tears are flowing just thinking about the awesome opportunity that teachers get as they make a difference in the lives of students. Remember, “that kid” has a ton of potential locked up on the inside. You have the chance to let it out. You can dig for gold! It’s not always easy, but so worth it.
I hope you have an amazing school year. You’ve got a clean slate, and I hope your kiddos do as well. Thank you for all you do. No seriously, thank you. Your efforts are greatly appreciated, and they don’t go unnoticed. Now go out and shine with a fresh start. As Mari would say, “The end is just a new beginning.”
Michele Rae Eich