A fresh start.
A new beginning.
A clean slate.
For many, New Year's Eve marks an end and New Year's Day, a beginning. A whole new year and a whole new chance to set things straight, right the wrongs, adjust, make changes, and start life anew.
If you're a teacher, you're lucky enough to get one more opportunity than everyone else.
One more New Year's Eve arrives the night before the first day of school. And all summer long, teachers have been looking toward that new school year beginning in much the same spirit of hope and second chances we all experience on January first. And now, floors are shiny. Pencils sharpened. The classroom's in order and plan book pages are fresh and clean and ready for new ideas and inspirations. We're all born again in this new school year - teachers and students - and we're poised here on the threshold of possibility, looking only forward - undeterred by last year's might-have-beens and if-onlys.
We all show up on the first day of school in our new clothes smiling so hard our cheeks hurt a little. This will be OUR year. This year stretches out bright and colorful before us like the yellow brick road to the Land of Oz. Not yet scuffed by stress or marred by the overwhelming anxiety of much-too-much to do, we begin our journey down this year's road full of optimism and holding balloons filled full with the very best of intentions.
Truthfully, sometimes those optimistic roads become rocky and those balloons P O P! as the year progresses.
But I'm here to say it doesn't have to be so.
I know all about the pins that pop our balloons and the rocks that make our smooth roads more difficult to navigate. Testing. Time. Initiatives. Expectations. Demands. Exhaustion. Balance. Politics.
I'm about to start my 20th year as an educator. My graduate school idealism has been tested and tarnished from time to time over these years, but every - single - year is a new chance to rekindle my romance with those first-year teacher ideals and find a way to recreate the classroom magic I know is possible for all of us.
This year IS my year. OUR year. YOUR year.
I hope you join me on this year's journey down the road toward One Hopeful Year. And become part of the journey. Add your thoughts. Your inspirations. Your ideas and dreams and dilemmas. Let's talk about it all. Let's form relationships and connections and support. Let's cheer and encourage and dream. Let's ponder and problem solve and fulfill our potential ... and especially the potential of our students.
Together, let's live and teach in ... One Hopeful Year.