I know I've been missing in action for a while now, but I've been working summer camp at the local preschool and getting my classroom ready for my upcoming class of pre-k kiddies starting in September. The good news is that I FINALLY got a new computer and it is incredible you guys- seriously magical.
I'm writing today because I'm thinking of all the kids and teachers going back to school. I'm thinking about how I never slept the night before the first day because I was excited and nervous. I wanted to make a great impression on my 125 new middle schoolers as well as my bosses, coworkers, and the parents. I would spend late nights crossing my t's and dotting my i's to make sure everything ran smoothly- especially on that first day.
I'm not sure why I was always so nervous about the first day, but it's funny because the very minute my classes would take their seats and I'd finish riffling through my attendance folder and stumbling through the pronunciation of each new name, I'd look up... right at them. Sitting there in those desks. And in that very moment, my nerves went away. They went away because I'd see the fear and anxiety in my students eyes. They were in their "coolest" outfit surrounded by shiny new school supplies, and looked like they might... puke. They had fought with lockers, some for the first time, and they likely wanted to burst out into tears right there. And here I was. The math teacher! Likely their most dreaded class and I knew it.
And in that moment every single year, I would want to just go down the row and hug them all one by one. I knew I had a million things to go over with them, but my rehearsed speech went right out the window and I'd begin my first of many pep-talk soap box speeches. I'd tell them it's going to be ok and we are going to survive this day- and this year. We don't have to be afraid. We can do this thing together. No matter how bad that first day of middle school had gone thus far for them, I wanted my classroom to be a bright spot. I wanted it to be a place of warmth and solace in this crazy new middle school world. I knew the truth was that my students would never care what I knew until they knew that I cared.
I guess the point of this entry is really just to say that every one of us is afraid sometimes of that "big thing." Whatever that thing is in your life that keeps you up at night. Sometimes perspective helps you realize you're really not all alone and everyone else is busy facing their own fears. Sometimes you think yours is so. much. bigger. SO. much. scarier. But, it's really all so relative. The first day of middle school can be just as scary for that little eleven-year-old as whatever big scary fear you are about to face (and conquer).
Sometimes we are forced to face these scary things, but other times we choose to. Either way, I think it helps to know that we're not alone. So get out there and face your fears people, do it like a boss and then pat yourself on the back for it, even if it goes poorly. Celebrate your efforts and those fears you faced. Those steps you took without knowing exactly where you might end up. Pat others on their backs too because nobody's got this life thing all figured out. And let's be honest, we all need a hug now and then.