This week I get to send my oldest child to college and my youngest to start her sophomore year in high school. I have experienced the “first day of school” as a student, teacher, administrator and as a father. All vantage points have more similar perspectives than difference.
As a student I was full of nervous excitement. Would my friends be in my class, is the teacher really like what my friends say he is, how much homework will I receive and most importantly- will the teacher like me?
As a teacher I was full of nervous excitement. Would I be prepared for the lesson, able to engage the students during the entire class period, engage curiosity, how will I deal with the class clown, what will the more tenured teachers think about me and will the students respect me?
As a principal I was full of nervous excitement. Would the buses be “close” to running on schedule, will lunch run “close” to schedule, will I be able to convince the parents with their first child in middle school their child will be great and therefore they can go home, will the teachers greet the students with smiles and will everyone respect me?
As a district administrator I was full of excitement. Would every school operate without a glitch, will the parents of high school students work out concerns with their child’s schedule with the counselor and give the teacher a chance even though someone at the neighborhood pool said they should get their kid out of that teacher’s class, may I be right they should not switch their student, and will everyone respect the job I am doing.
As a parent I was full of excitement. Would the teachers care about my child as a unique person, would they exercise their influence judiciously, will the teacher nurture curiosity in my child, will the other children be nice to my child, will my child be safe, and will everyone respect I am a parent first and not a district administrator.
The start of school really does set the stage for the possibilities of our children for the rest of the school year. As parents, teachers and administrators we must always remember to respect the perspective of the students and our children because we are actually there for them and not the other way around. May every classroom, principal office, district office be full of this perspective and engage the love of learning and belonging in every single student this new school year.