The Beauty of a Fresh Start

I love fresh starts…those times when you are able to start with a fresh canvas and many options ahead.  That is why I love the beginning of each new school year. We meet, once again, as a school team looking forward to our students arrival and having energy we have built up over the summer to tackle new challenges.

When we arrived at the end of June and moved into summer I knew that I needed much rest and rejuvenation before I could even think about rallying up for another year.  I know I was not alone in these feelings.  There were many teachers who felt equally as exhausted as I did.  I spent my summer reading, hanging out with my family and reflecting on what the new year might look like.  There were  many wonderful things we were able to accomplish last year and there were many things that might not have gone exactly as planned or perhaps did not go on at all.

I always remind my staff that teaching is not for the faint at heart.  It is like the job that never ends.  Very rewarding, and very exhausting.  I would not want to be doing any other job than the one I have right now, but finding balance and maintaining a positive mindset can be difficult at times.  Once the new year begins it takes off with such speed and never really slows down until the end.

For me fresh starts involves much reflection.  Many questions ran through my head this summer.  How could I support my teachers, especially my new teachers fresh to the profession?  How could I organize my time to be able to maintain a balance in my workload?  How would I look after myself and not take things so personally?  How could I do a better job of communicating with our parents?  How could I change my teaching methods so my students might get the best experience possible?  How would I make it a priority to interact with my PLN and continue to grow as an administrator and teacher?

The reflection does not solve all problems of course, but some of my best planning happens through random thoughts when I have time to have them.  Through these thoughts I was able to sketch out my vision for the school year.

1.  The most important part of our school is the strong team that exists within.  My vision for this year would be for all of us to continue to work as a strong team. That we will welcome our new staff into our team and learn to use each of our individual talents to make us stronger.   As a school staff we will work together and help each other get to the places we want to be. I hope I can work with individual staff members to support and meet their needs.

2.  I hope we will continue to do everything possible to help our students succeed.  We will looks for ways to build their trust and readjust our teaching methods to bring out the best in each one of them.  Our journey towards more inquiry learning, digital portfolios, student feedback and reflection and team teaching will continue to grow and our students will benefit from that. We will get better at using our achievement and behavior data to drive our teaching and learning, starting with our early years and phonological awareness.

3.  I hope we will work hard to engage our parents as a valuable part of our team.  I look forward to finding ways to involve them in the things we do.  I hope we will  communicate better and strive to build stronger relationships that are key to students success.  I hope we can tell our positive story in a variety of ways and through that process help our parents understand the value they serve in our team.

4.  I never doubt the ability and desires of our school team, and I know we will continue to do everything possible to do our job well.  I hope we will take care of ourselves in the process.  There are many things we cannot control, so I hope we can let go of those things and concentrate on the things we can control and expend our energies on what is important within our building and within our families and friends.

I know it is difficult to wrap up the vision for a school year in one post and reality is much different than random thoughts during a summer.  I also know things will happen that we are not expecting, but right now I am riding on the beauty of a fresh start.