Monday, August 11, 2014

August - Again!

Somehow, the days fly by and summer, full of shortened summer semesters, whirlwind classes, administrative preparations and assessment, and even a study abroad trip is gone and we are--again--staring at August.

Despite my tendency to make summer task lists that have no hope of getting done, I was able to stumble through this summer without a full blown panic attack about not accomplishing everything. After all, whether the check marks are placed on the items or not, August is here and another semester looms ahead.

I'm going through my typical August emotional tornado: sadness that my summer classes are over, excitement that I have new students in August, concern that I don't have enough time to overhaul a class or the energy to teach effectively after such a busy summer. How can I get in the classroom full of energy and life when I feel a tired and drained?

But then I begin my August checklists and I start getting that anticipation that there will be another class, another group of students to engage with...there's just no feeling like connecting in the classroom. 

So, I'm preparing. I'm following my First Week Tips and my Preparation Quirks that I thought were unique to me (practicing in the room you would teach in, testing whiteboards, reflecting on first-time student emotions, and considering clothing when reaching up to write on the board or leaning over to help a student). I feel ready. I feel excited. I feel thankful.

Perhaps it is the summer graduation ceremony - where two of my students were mentioned by the President and one gave a great commencement speech despite being nervous, but I'm feeling very thankful for the opportunity to be a tiny little part of a student's educational journey. This time of year, it is important to remember that it is an opportunity and that we do have an impact--even if we don't always realize it in the chaotic midst of a full semester.

This year, I'm beginning my semester outlook with that gratitude as a primary emotion. It has helped me to regain energy, to focus, and to trust myself and my teaching approach. This is going to be another great semester!