Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Begin Again

For teachers, the new year begins in September, not January.  September brings us a new class, new supplies, new school clothes, new schedules, new faces, and new names.  Our students count on us to be their guide into the brave new world that each child faces as they begin their journey each school year.  There is so much novelty that September brings, that when January arrives, the year hardly seems new anymore.  Instead, January signifies a shift.  For young learners, January is when many children start to really show significant growth.  In my little world, I refer to it as the "January Jump".  The kids arrive back at school after the holiday break a little taller and with a few less baby teeth.  Somehow, they look older to me even though we were apart for just 10  days.  By the end of the month, they all have made such significant progress from where they were just 5 months previous that it often astounds me even after all these years.  They are no longer climbing the mountain by learning to be first graders, but rather, they are cresting it and continuing their journey toward being second graders. 

January isn't a new year in my world, but rather a time for rejuvenation.  It is a time for renewing promises and for regeneration.  It is a time for examination of priorities and making promises.  As such, I find myself back at my keyboard after a 6 month hiatus.  During those 6 months, I changed schools and shifted my focus.  I took some time to start over with a new school year in a new school building.  While it has been an overall positive experience, I do miss the students, families and friends at my previous school.  Adjusting to a different school, with a new schedule and responsibilities impacted the time I had previously used for reading and writing.  In addition, the political climate made me feel overwhelmed.  My desire to be informed and politically active was in direct opposition to my desire to maintain my sanity.  

As a nation, we are about to embark upon a tumultuous journey in this new year.  As we entered the new school year in September, we found ourselves facing a truly historic time as the election drew nearer.  We were confronted with a choice between two candidates, neither of whom would address the issue of what the future of education would hold for our children.  Education was barely given a passing remark in the debates and was not in the top 5 issues in the election.  In the end, we now are about to be led by a man who has no interest in and no understanding of public education.  His choice to lead the DoE is actually worse than John King.  His promise to "get rid of Common Core" will lead to a simple rebranding of an already bad idea.  I shudder to think of what will happen to our children and our teachers under this coming administration.

As a result, I felt that it was time to resurrect my writing.  It is time to renew that promise that I made to myself to always be an advocate for children within and beyond my classroom walls.  During this new school year, I have witnessed first hand what happens when when educators work together to create change.  I feel that we are at the edge of a new beginning in our corner of the world.  We worked hard to make our voices heard and it is making an impact along with some positive changes.  Now, we must work together to make our voices heard on a much larger scale in this new year and in this new era that we are facing.  The only way we can do this is to speak loudly and speak often.  We must be what we want our students to be:  informed, confident, capable and strong.  It is our time to shift our thinking and embrace our strength.  Our children are counting on us.

#BeTheUnion #United #SpeakUpSpeakOut #BeTheChange

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