My brain was buzzing, my muscles tense. I had a million thoughts swirling through my mind, and couldn’t seem to put them on hold. I knew I should hang it up and go to sleep, but I just couldn’t seem to settle down. Was I about to embark on an epic journey? Participate in an athletic competition? Face a major surgery? Nope. I was about to begin a brand new school year at a brand new (to me) school. My adrenaline was pumping.
Every year it’s the same. There’s a period of time over the summer for recovery from the previous school year, then excitement begins to build. New kids’ names are memorized as they’re entered into spreadsheets and studied from a data point of view. Sheets from former teachers are also examined, and information gathered. Preliminary groupings are created, beginning of the year seating charts are developed, and room arrangements are finalized (only to change again during the first few days). Lesson plans are developed, charts and posters are created and hung, and supplies are gathered and distributed.
My head knows I’m ready, but my heart is beating out of my chest. This is the moment when fantasy hits reality. Until the students actually show up, the entire year is an unknown. It may be the best year yet, or it may be the worst. I may hit my professional pinnacle with this group, and help them learn and grow in an unprecedented way, or I may bomb. In my head I know I won’t bomb, but there’s still that tiny voice of doubt. The real excitement, though, is in the idea of the perfect year. The night before school starts is the most exciting night of the year. It is full of promise and potential, but I can’t wait for it to end so the real work can begin.