Teaching Opinion

Twas the Day Before a New School Year

By Starr Sackstein — September 03, 2018 2 min read
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I love school, I always have.

Undoubtedly, school was my safe place and the teachers within it my sanctuary. When I became a teacher so many years ago, I vowed to be that person any one of my students or colleagues could come to, if ever they needed a safe place or a person to listen.

This job was one I took very personally and every child had access to me if they needed it and I tried earnestly to give each child what he or she needed to be successful.

When I switched positions last year, I worried that I’d miss the connection to kids. The students were my North Star, always keeping a clear direction and focus, grounding me in my “why”. Not having a classroom of my own kids last year was hard, but I still tried to make meaningful connections.

And since my new “classroom” is the team of teachers I work with, I vow to make our shared office space a sanctuary and my door is always open to listen, collaborate or share some quiet when it’s needed.

So as I embark on this year’s journey, I’d like to make transparent my hopes for another successful year:

  • School is a place for learning, for everyone in it, not just the students, so I promise to be a lifelong learner, always modeling what I expect to see.
  • A smile and a positive attitude go a long way, they should never be underestimated and that’s why they will always be a part of my daily wardrobe.
  • Transparency is key and so I will honestly communicate my expectations, being open to feedback and using my prior learning to inform decisions moving forward. If I haven’t shared something in a way that is understandable, I hope that our team will ask more clarifying questions.
  • We are a team first, and as such I will always do my part to pull my weight and uplift those around me so that their successes will benefit the team as well.
  • There will always be mistakes, but I promise to learn from mine and not be afraid to be visible in my learning. It’s hard to fail, but to do so is essential to growth and we must be reminded of that daily.
  • Taking risks is another essential way to grow and I hope to help create a culture that values positive risk-taking so that we are all on our tows.
  • I will reach out for help when I need it, not being ashamed or afraid. Help is a necessary part of learning and knowing who to ask and when to ask are essential elements of becoming more self-aware. My anxiety will not be allowed to rule me.
  • Reflection will be a part of my leadership toolbox because that is how I will keep pushing farther.
  • We will celebrate the successes of the team, so that students can be center stage and everyone can feel positive about the work we do.

So as I “enjoy” the butterflies that are starting to flutter, I take a deep meditative breath as I jump into a new school year with my eyes, my heart, and my mind wide open knowing that this will be the best year ever.

It’s now time to meditate on what my one word will be for the year and then go through my closet to pick out my first day of school outfit for tomorrow.

What intentions do you bring to this new school year? Please share

*Photo by Starr Sackstein

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