“How do you wash these crayons?” asked a student. I was puzzled—why does she want to wash her crayons? Kayla showed me the box of crayons. It said “Washable Crayons.” I explained that you don’t wash the crayons, rather the crayon marking would wash out of clothing.
There are many new aspects to a new school year. It is exciting to have new school supplies, both washable crayons and regular crayons with still-sharp tips, unmarred erasers, long pencils, and full glue bottles. I like the fresh, crisp look of new textbooks and workbooks. The bulletin boards are smooth and bright and the desks are clean and arranged in neat rows.
A teacher friend said she tells her students to put their noses down and smell those new books. “I love the smell of new books!” she stated. I like the smell of new crayons, and my mom commented on the smell of the school building when it’s ready for the new year.
This summer seemed to be a summer of new things for me—a new phone, new air conditioner unit, new car, and new printer. Some of the old things quit working and needed to be replaced. Now it is time for more new things—a new class, new phonics books, and five new students. On the first day of this school year, I thought, “It’s a new morning, and a new school year!” With teaching, we get a new start each year. I think of things from the previous year that I could have done differently. I should have started these lessons sooner in the year. I should have organized the centers more. I can try to do that in this new year!
Some of the children will come to school with new shoes, new dresses, new lunchboxes, and new backpacks. It’s exciting to have these new things. “Look how the lights blink on the new sneakers!” “I have a new backpack, see?” For my first graders, it is exciting to use the new things, and to bring their lunch to school in the new lunchbox. (One of the first days of school, a child asked at 9:00 AM, “When is it lunch?”)
There are new friends to make in this new year. I told my students that those who came to our school last year should be sure to be friendly to the new students. I need to keep that in mind, as well, and look for the new students in other grades and reach out to them. I should make a point to talk to new staff members, and get to know the new parents.
I think about my vision and goals for the school year—maybe I need a new vision for my teaching and my service at school. I may need to work on my attitudes and develop a new mindset, growing in humility, patience, and compassion.
There are new plans for my class, whether that means new lesson plans for a new group of students, or new protocols required by my school. I may need to do some more studying. I plan to continue as a life-long learner so I can meet the needs of this class.
The first day of a new school year is exciting. It’s exciting for Evan, the second-grader who was up and dressed by 6:30 AM. He was ready for school then, even though his bus does not arrive until 7:45. It is exciting for first-grader Sheila, who went into her parents’ bedroom at 3:30 AM and asked when they were going to get her up for school! It’s exciting for this teacher, who worked at school until 10:30 PM the night before, making sure everything was ready for the new class, and who looks forward to teaching these 28 students who have been entrusted to her care for this new year.
On the first day of school, I like to stand in my classroom doorway and pray for the students, for our class, for my teaching, and for the families represented in my students. One of our leadership team prayed that as we have prepared the building physically for the new school year, so God would prepare us spiritually for the year.
I am reminded of the hymn “Another Year is Dawning,” by Frances Havergal, which I’m sure is meant for the beginning of a new year. However, I think it applies very well to the beginning of a new school year. Some of the phrases are very appropriate for teachers in a new school year:
- Another year is dawning! Dear Father, let it be, in working or in waiting, another year with thee.
- Another year of trusting
- Another year of mercies, of faithfulness and grace
- Another year of progress, another year of praise, another year of proving thy presence all the days
- Another year of service, of witness for thy love
CONTRIBUTOR: Arlene Birt