Dear 2011-2012 School Year

I just finished reading a Huffington Post article about facing one's fears. The idea is that you can help overcome your fears by writing a letter to your fear, allowing a connection with it in a more rational manner-- hopefully avoiding overly emotional responses that may otherwise feel suffocating and/or debilitating.

And that is why I'm writing to you, 2011-2012 school year. You begin tomorrow and I'm a little apprehensive. You will be my eighth year teaching, and my second at this school. I think it is perfectly natural to have first-day-of-school jitters, mostly because I deal with it every year, but for some reason this year feels different. I'm not nervous about the usual stuff that used to plague me like meeting one hundred and fifty new students, and hoping that most of them like me and actually learn something. Instead my worries are more on a professional level. 

I drove away from last school year feeling elated that I had a contract and wouldn't have to job search all summer. My contract came about after a handful of meetings and ultimately was accepted on my part when there was a guarantee that I would have my own classroom again (not travel from class to class), and an understanding that I would not be expected to work with students outside of my comfort zone. [My own education was designed to work with junior high and high school age students...and that is what I prefer, as well as originally hired to do.] 

And thus, 2011-2012 school year, I'm feeling a little torn. I want to like you so badly and my hope is that my having an established position will enable me to feel more a part of the school community. Last year was a little rough in that I very much felt like an outsider, never really feeling like I was truly informed. I don't want this year to be that way too.

I know that part of my concern stems from my leaving a great group of co-workers that I adored in my last position. I always knew exactly who to go to for anything I might have a question about or needed help with. I loved the collaboration that existed in the building, and I simply miss it. But part of my concern is that my not feeling like I'm part of the school is a very real issue that is not just me missing familiarity. 

School starts tomorrow and until I called the school this last Thursday, I had absolutely no information other than a start date. I called and asked about an agenda/schedule for the week before students arrive. I asked if I could bring in all my classroom stuff to start setting up, and basically I called just to make sure my contract was still in tact. I know that I'm very much someone who appreciates structure and communication, but this lack of information was paralyzing. I really didn't think I even had a job. 

And so 2011-2012 school year, I hope that we have a smooth interaction. I hope that I will get to know every single person in my building. Above all, I hope that I will be an effective teacher for my students so that they can walk away with the tools they need. And I hope that I can get some sleep tonight!


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