Back to school reflections

So, here I am, on the eve of another school year beginning, at the end of an summer vacation it feels like I just started. The stores are full of supplies waiting to be bought, and classrooms are empty, waiting to be filled with students. So as usual, I begin to reflect on the new school year. With each year comes ever increasing expectations in academic rigor and testing, so much so that it feels like all that matters is the test,  the whole test, and nothing but the test, but we are not and have never been defined by a scantron sheet. There are some things I would like to remind us all-students, parents and teachers – about as the time draws closer.
  Students: You have worth, but build your value. Many a teacher turned motivational speaker mentions to teachers that students need to know that they are valuable and capable of great things, and it is our job as teachers to help bring that greatness out.  And I want to do that for you, with other teachers.  I see the potential in you to do great things, and I want you to work hard to see them in yourself. If you know your capabilities and personal worth, no one can place a false value on you. So work now to build that value in yourself and allow it to grow interest until adulthood.
Parents: We Need You, let’s work together. We both want what is best for your child and for them to succeed. I know for many of you school may have been an unpleasant experience and left you scarred. I can’t change the past, but we can change the future. We need you there with us to build it too. Come to school functions, visit classes,  we love to answer questions and want to help in anyway we can. Working together I know we can achieve that goal
Teachers: You are unforgettable. This past week at a conference I had a chance to hear Kim Bearden, a teacher at the Ron Clark school in Decatur. There was something she said in her address that struck with me. She had all the teachers imagine 20 years down the road at a reunion of our students. The conversation comes to teachers.  One mentioned the kids all remember for her passion for teaching, and love for students, some even say this teacher was the one that got them to grow up and stop fooling around,  or made another significant impact. Another teacher mentioned brought back fond memories, but nothing spectacular.  Another made all the students cringe in horror, and another no one remembers at all. She then asked us, which one she wants us to be. We all knew. And I believe that each of us as teachers has the potential to be unforgettable to a child. So this year, and every year, strive for that. It may be hard, and the days will come when you get tired, and frustrated with the accountability measures and the extra stuff that comes with the job. But when that child comes to you and tells you,  “you changed my life”. I promise,  it will be worth it.  Have a great year everyone!