The start of the school year has been hard for me for many years. I’m sure it’s hard for all teachers for lots of different reasons. For me, it’s that getting to know my student is so important to me. Getting to know them well as human beings. I know last year’s kids. I know what they like like and dislike. I know their strengths and needs. I know how to help them. I know when to help and when to step back. And none of that matters now because they aren’t actually MY kids anymore.
So I start every year missing the kids I no longer have. It takes a while for me to get to know my new kiddos. I might like, or even love them, pretty quickly but I definitely don’t know them. All that I’ve invested in last year’s kids has to start over. (This is why I loved to loop with my class.) Its like doing laundry. I work hard to get that done every weekend and then, the next weekend, I just have to do it again.
It’s only day 2. I know, after more than 20 years of this, that I will get to know these kiddos as well as I knew last year’s group. But I don’t yet. So the work all feels that much harder because it doesn’t feel as meaningful. It doesn’t feel as focused on my individual students as I want it to be.
Right now I’m doing the work that will allow me to do the really important work for the rest of the year. But I want to be doing that work already. AND I CAN’T. It just isn’t possible until I know these kids better. But the work of getting to know them is SO hard. And I’m SO tired.
I know it will get better. That’s one perk of having done this more than 20 times before. I know it will be okay. I just want it to be okay already.