August brings so many feelings for me. The teacher nightmares begin, thoughts of my goals for the new year start to become clear, hot sweaty days are spent arranging my classroom and planning. I love fall and the new school year, don't get me wrong, but I also get a severe sense of dread. Not because the summer is about to end but for that dreaded first week back before school starts. That dream crushing, overwhelming, supremely negative week. Every year I psych myself up for weeks beforehand trying to get myself into a positive mindset. But inevitably by the end of the first day I have already failed miserably. I just spent the entire summer learning new things, surrounding myself with educators with a growth mindset who are constantly encouraging and supportive. I spent hours planning and preparing amazing learning opportunities for my students in the upcoming year only to sit there in meeting after meeting, training after training having my dreams and goals stuffed into a box and set aside. Making way for new initiatives, new curriculum, and new requirements from leadership. Eventually I pull that box back out, unpack it, and get back on track. But how do I skip the derailment altogether? How do I keep that excitement and drive through that first week and let it propel me into the school year?
Well….I've decided to take on the new school year LIKE A B.O.S.S.!
(Have an) Open mind
Strive for greatness
Be enthusiastic: It's going to take more than just a psyched up positive mindset to get me through this and I strongly believe in the power of enthusiasm! My enthusiasm for what I have learned and what I want to do in my classroom will be infectious and spread to others! This year I won't let people tell me that I have, "Too much enthusiasm" Is that even a thing? I don't think so. The more passionate you are about something, the more enthusiasm you have. I am in the business of changing lives and educating the future. There is no such thing as too much enthusiasm!
(Have an) Open mind: After reading "Lead Like a Pirate" by Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf this summer, I have realized my need to keep an Open mind especially when it comes to my administrators. They are in education for the same reason we are and I need to remember that! They aren't there to create more work for us or make us do more paperwork. They are working to make education better for all students just like I am.
Stay positive: Although having only a positive outlook didn't work for me in the past, I still think it is extremely important to Stay positive. Having a positive attitude changes everything. Negativity is like a parasite spreading from person to person until it kills your school culture from the inside out. Staying positive among negativity is never easy. It changes your actions, decisions, and your words. Speaking positivity into a generally negative conversation can be difficult but has enormous benefits for you, your colleagues, and your students.
Strive for greatness: Recently I was reading "Teach Like a Pirate" by Dave Burgess. In it he talks about asking educators, "Do you want to be great?" It kind of made me laugh reading it. I could totally see educators shifting uncomfortably in their seats as the tall dude in the pirate outfit loomed over them trying to catch someone's eye. (No offense Dave! It just made me giggle!) I'm not sure that I would have stood up and yelled, "Yes!" Though in my mind I would have been wanting to! It's funny how we have such a culture in education of not wanting to be seen as better, egotistical, or competitive. Why being great has those connotations to it, I'm not sure. But, as Dave more eloquently puts it in his book, "Being your best possible self contributes to the school culture necessary to create the environment for greatness to flourish." After reading that chapter, all I can say is "Heck yeah!! I want to be great!"
I am excited for this change in my mindset that I've made and I can't wait to see how this change will affect not only myself but also my colleagues, my family, and my students. I can now look forward to the start of school as a positive with opportunities to spread enthusiasm, keep an open mind, speak positivity, and strive for greatness!
Do you struggle with the beginning of the year like I do? How do you handle it? What is your plan to start this year with a bang?