First Blog…As I Anticipate the Upcoming School Year
There is something to be said about the thrill of anticipation. That second right before you go over the first hill of a roller-coaster you’ve never been on. (“Oh, I’m going to die! I’m going to die! Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! That rocked!”) The moment right before you tear open your first Christmas preset. (“I wonder what it is…..hmmmm….a sausage and cheese basket! Thanks Uncle Steve.”) Or, maybe it’s just me…but the second before you meet a new class full of freshly vacationed students, I just get…eager and nervous. (“Hey there new class! I’m your teacher!” When all I’m thinking about is what I had for breakfast and whether or not I have a smile full of Grape Nuts.
Well…it’s that time again. Time to look at your closet full of faded dress shirts and equally flimsy dress socks (you know you have them) and take a deep breath, because you’re about to launch that rocket ship into a new school year.
This year is particularly exciting for me. Our school, Faith Lutheran, is opening a new Chapel and Performing Arts facility on campus. Being a humble drama teacher with a giant ego and lots and lots of talent and tact…you can imagine that I was slightly excited to see the tile go down and the proscenium take shape in the theatre space. We are SO blessed at our school. I have the tendency to take SO much for granted (don’t we all?) that when I take two steps back to actually see what’s being built…it hits me like a ton of bricks! (They make you wear hard hats, by the way.) This building is for…MY drama students. This is an unbelievable opportunity to pick yourself up, dust yourself off…and start all over again. Re approach those yearly goals and daily scholastic obstacles with vigor and say, “Let us use our talents to glorify God, who made this building possible!”
I have a new classroom in the building. There is a costume storage room….dressings rooms….scene shop….(I’m seriously shaking right now)….it’s just too much. Our orchestra will be in an orchestra pit from now on….what a novel idea. I love it.
With that said…I have much more than a well-designed, 11 million dollar house of worship and wonder to look forward to. I’m embarking on my 6th year as a high school teacher. That’s crazy to me. Seems like yesterday I was a student teacher and making fun of my adviser’s hair. I read somewhere that a Lutheran school teacher’s career averages between 6 and 8 years. Hmmm. I’m sure it wasn’t the Lutheran Annual I got that info from…but if that is even remotely true, then I’m approaching the beginning of the “beat the odds” years. I LOVE BEATING THE ODDS. (Anyone who knows me will tell you that.) Have I found myself frustrated with my job and the daily approach to humble offerings to elective class students, half of which are in my classroom because they didn’t want Computers fourth block? Yup. I have. Do I find great reward in watching students who doubted themselves step onstage and blow people away with their gifts…yup. Been there too. But there seems to be a very fragile line that must be walked daily in order to avoid finding yourself in one or the other state of mind. It’s a long walk to your car in the parking lot when your lesson is not well received and the bitter coffee tends to match the bitter approaches by some students far too often.
I suppose that is another reason I get out of bed every day. I like to think that I’m a pretty positive person. I saw the musical “Will Rogers Follies” recently and you crusty old folks out there might remember Will Rogers’ famous tag line, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” I thought about that for a minute…and I think that holds true with me. I like to try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I try not to judge. I smile at passers by. I even take my grocery cart to the cart corral. (Those cart workers don’t want to be in the sun any more than I do!) But that’s always been my problem. I love kids…I love teaching my students and sharing time with them, and listening to their daily adventures, and sharing moments from my youth with them….it’s fun. But I’ve always said that my biggest opportunity as an educator is my ability to crack the proverbial whip when it needs to be cracked. Oh, I get upset sometimes…but most of the time I’m pretty darn happy. In this age of immediate satisfaction, and uber-sensitive personalities, I guess you could say that more than anything, I’m looking forward to walking into a new classroom, a new theatre, a new school year….grabbing myself by my bot straps, and dusting myself off for another adventure. It’ll be good…you’ll see. High Schoolers will love Sweeney Todd. My Middle Schoolers will love making sock puppets. And we’ll all love to be able to worship in a space together that is as reverent, and beautiful as the sound of voices raised to the Lord during chapel. I’m blessed. We’re blessed.
“Lo, let the backpack be heavy as the first block eyelids of every students at Faith….hear thee this….be happy, share hope and faith….and love thy neighbor. For thine is very lucky to have such a nice place to be…and supportive people to be around! Now…get thee to class!”
Blessings to you all. I need to get back to updating calenders. (Ok, let’s be honest…I’m putting colorful tabs on the outside of my calender’s pages. They’re look like Christmas lights when you open it up!)