Back to School

I have always gotten a little anxious returning to school in September.  When I was younger this nervousness was due to awkward social dynamics I was unsure of, the cute girl I liked, or the unknowns of classes and teachers I wasn’t familiar with.  At a deeper level there were the expectations others had of me and my own ambiguity about hopes I had for that year.  Would I make it socially?  Would I like my classes?   Would I be as successful as I hoped I might be?  How would I define success?  Or sometimes… would I survive high school?  Under the layers however there was the hope that this year would be different and I would somehow figure it out.

Many of these anxieties are no more (fortunately!) while others remain deeply ingrained.

As I look ahead to the coming year I am anxious and excited for what might be.  That is what I believe is great about working at Hyde: the possibilities are endless.  As a teacher, coach, Discovery Group leader, and administrator, my hopes for change and improvement have no boundaries.  The spectrum on which I measure my hopes for myself and others is immense and ranges from the athletic field to my Discovery Group to my classes to my own personal growth to the one student I hope gets the “aha moment” and the transformational experience.  So many possibilities for success, so many moments to be proud of.

So, with students arriving tomorrow and the 2009-10 school year beginning, here are my immediate thoughts and hopes:

Soccer… will we beat PCD this year?  We came so close last year….  We’ve got some solid players – will they want it as much as their coaches?

Discovery Group… will I provide them with the home away from home, the kick and the bear-hug, that they each individually need?  Will their parents take charge of their own journey and rediscover their own potential?

Classes… will I share with them the passion and love of literature, learning and most importantly, my own process of self-discovery that drives my teaching?  Will I provide that mind-blowing opportunity in which I find my own self (including my many hopes, fears, loves, passions, etc.) in a character of literature, in a poem, in a moment captured in words, translated into a discussion in class, in the lesson of the day?  Will I again gain that one key point of insight from a student, something that transforms my teaching and my learning.

Will I inspire myself, my students, my peers, and my family by going after my best?  Will we as a community get a glimpse of our best, even if just for a moment, and inspire each other in doing so?

I am confident this year that all of these things will happen.  I know there will be bumps along the way, but I think my anxiety and restlessness are good signs of high expectations and hope for growth and change.

Best, John