Reading, Teaching, Learning

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Slice of Life - I Just Wasn't Ready

 
  I love participating in Slice of Life, started by Two Writing Teachers and writing a story, reflection, or musing at least once a week.
 
  
     I have to be honest.  I was not ready to start school this week.  Our teacher work day is Friday, and I needed to start going into school yesterday to get my room ready and prepare for students.  It's not that I don't love my job, my subject, or my students.  I love them all.  I just wasn't ready. 
 
     My summer was full.  I went to district Google training, a writing conference, a celebration trip to for my 25th anniversary, Mom's 70th birthday, and to attend the Newbery banquet, and a mission trip (which was amazing).  In between I finished up a book proposal with my friend, Megan, which you know got rejected, so now we need to rework it and shop it around.  I tried (and failed) to keep up with TeachersWrite!, blogged, read, spent time with family and friends, and now it's time to go back to school.  I am not complaining.  The summer was full, and I felt blessed.  I felt blessed to be so fortunate to have a summer and be able to travel like I did.  I just wasn't ready.
 
     I packed up my car with things I stored at home over the summer and filled bags with books I had bought, read, and was ready to put into the classroom library.  I stopped at Ace Hardware to buy red spray paint for an old bookshelf I wanted to fix up, and a few picture hanging materials for a new Peter Brown print I had framed over the summer.  I wore workout clothes because I knew I'd be dragging down boxes of books and materials I had put away in cabinets during the last week of school so the custodians could have access to floors, furniture, and shelves.  I wasn't ready to do that physical labor and reorganization.  I just wasn't ready.
 
     I came through the office to pick up my paperwork, badge, and key.  Greeted the office staff, the principal, and a few teachers. Checked my mailbox.  It was full.   It was nice to see some of the people I work with, but I still just wasn't ready. 
 
     On the way to my classroom, dragging my feet a little, I noticed the shiny floors and spotless locker bays.  The empty display cases ready to be filled.  A few new additions to the décor - all really nice.  I looked down and noticed a fat envelope in the pile of mail I just picked up and saw that it was from Water for South Sudan, Inc.  I excitedly opened it up, and saw that it was full of pictures from our #ReadWalkWater sponsored well in South Sudan!  Our Columbia Intermediate banner was being held by the villagers that received the well!  I smiled and started thinking about our walk last year, the A Long Walk to Water read aloud, and the enthusiasm and generosity it generated.  I started to get excited about doing it again with this year's sixth graders.  I picked up my pace.  I passed the head custodian and thanked him for beautiful job he and his staff did on the building. I could feel myself getting ready.
 
     I reached my classroom door, put in the key, and walked in.  Everything had been spotlessly cleaned, and the furniture returned to its exact spots.  I put down my bags, smiled, and thought about the possibilities that awaited my students and me this year.  I thought about my new fifth graders and their excitement and my sixth graders who I've been teaching since their 4th grade year and realized how much I missed them.  I thought about the books I was going to add to the classroom library that I had loved reading over the summer.  I thought about the authors and illustrators I was going to introduce to my students and use as mentors.  I thought about the part of the room I was going to make a writing station.  I thought about the theme topics and book sets my students were going to explore.  And I realized I was ready.
 
I am ready.

 
       Oh, the possibilities...
 
 
 
 

29 comments:

  1. Holly, thank you so much for this post. I can so relate to the fits and starts of feeling prepared! I begin with students tomorrow, and I wish you and your students a blessed year! Teresa

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    1. You, too! I hope your first day goes great!

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  2. Love your transition, Holly, from being not ready to ready. Isn't that what we all do. Best to let things fall into place but there is always a gut feeling in the stomach that summer is hard to move away from. I was thinking also about the return to school and resurrected an old journal in my search for not being ready to start my preparations for a PD workshop. This is what I am offering: http://beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com/2014/08/a-slice-of-life-recalling-words-to.html

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  3. What a full summer you've had! I love the way you walked me through your thinking as you walked through your school until you reached that point that said, "Yes, I'm ready!" Have a great year!

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    1. Thank you, Elsie! I'm ready for a great year! :-)

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  4. I hope when I walk into my classroom, I'll be ready. I'm not ready yet. LOL Have a great school year!

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  5. I love this post because once again I can totally relate to the feeling. I wasn't ready either. My summer was also full. But now that classes have started and I am getting geared up with my gifted team, I am ready. This is going to be a great year!

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    1. Yes, it just takes some little things to get you back into the swing! It WILL be a great year! :-)

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  6. Love the path shared, Holly, not a surprise, but beautifully written. Best wishes for a great start!

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  7. Reading your post gives me hope that I will be ready too, even though I don't feel like it now. A beautiful post.

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  8. I'm exhausted just from reading this post, Holly. What a summer you had. You sure were on the go!

    Here's to a wonderful school year!

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    1. Thanks, Stacey - yes, it was a somewhat exhausting summer, but I loved everything I did! :-)

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  9. I'm exhausted too, but I feel your excitement and joy as the reality of the first day gets closer. I'm remembering my Augusts and yes, I miss that excitement too. So enjoy it all and share it with us.

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  10. I think the end of summer is such a bittersweet time for teachers, no matter how full it is Here's to a great year!

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    1. Agreed - even the relaxing summers are hard to let go!

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  11. Holly, I loved walking into your school with you as you shared your feelings. It's a feeling we all recognize. How exciting to see that banner at your school sponsored well in South Sudan. I like how lots of thinking brought you around to being ready . . . and open to the possibilities of a new year!

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    1. The pictures of our banners were indeed exciting!! It was just what I needed to get motivated! Literature + social action = changed lives!

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  12. SO many connections here - I don't think we can ever be truly ready for the start of the school year but I loved how you arrived at the "ready" state after thinking about books, authors, reading and writing! I still have a few more weeks of summer left so I'm going to be "not ready" for a while longer! Thanks, Holly!

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    1. Enjoy your last few weeks - every second! :-)

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  13. Such a lovely post! Here's to a wonderful year. :)

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    1. Cynthia - Thank you! By the way, about 8 copies of RULES is waiting in my classroom as a small group book for my 5th grade EMPATHY unit. :-) One of the reasons I'm excited to start!!

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  14. Thank you for the authentic sharing. I was feeling very similar as I dragged my bones into the building, and have been inspired by setting up the room and thinking about the wonderful year ahead. So excited to join you in the Water for the Sudan project. Best wishes on a great year!

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