In calendar terms we’re only half way through the summer but some teachers in our system went back to work today. It’s only a small group since we have a few elementary schools that are on a "modified" year-round schedule but I have friends who teach in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas who will start the new school year in a couple of weeks. So, it’s almost time to begin the annual ritual of opening school for another academic year.
I’ve ranted before about how we need to revise the school calendar to make learning a full-year activity and I haven’t changed my mind about that. However, I must admit that one of my guilty pleasures in being a teacher is the tremendous feeling of optimism that accompanies the approach of the fall semester. Let’s face it there aren’t many professions where you get to start all over again every year.
Sure, I know, for most of us it’s a new group of kids coming through that door. But with them arrives a feeling that all the mistakes made last year can be corrected and we can find the keys to reach all the kids. Reality will arrive soon enough, and some colleagues might even try to dampen the hopeful feeling right away, but for most of us the feeling if quite pervasive. In the end I think all good teachers are by their very nature optimists. How can you teach and not be one?