It’s a New School Year: Confessions of Your Classroom Teacher

By Kathleen Sullivan

A new school year is upon us, so many students in Malden are feeling high anxiety.  We all remember that night before school started when we were students ourselves. We spent our last few weeks of summer vacation preparing for school.  There was the excitement of getting our new school supplies and going shopping for new clothes and shoes. Our emotions were mixed.  We felt a sense of sadness that summer was ending and we felt excitement to see our friends.  Those emotions were coupled with some apprehension about meeting our new classmates and teachers, and beginning a new school year.

Well, here is the truth, teachers feel that same apprehension and anxiety. We get nervous about setting up our classrooms so they’re just right for our students.  We worry about getting to know our new students and their families.  Our stomachs are in knots and we wake up at night thinking about the upcoming school year, the challenges we will face reaching all of our students’ academic learning styles, and creating lessons that will engage our students as well as reflect their new knowledge in standardized testing for which we are all accountable.  There is something bigger than all this though.  The students who walk through our doors on that first day of school are our students and they are our kids.  We will be connected to these individuals for the rest of our lives because they spent time in our classroom.

During an academic school year, students and teachers spend hundreds of hours together.  We share our students’ successes, failures, joys, and their sorrows.

So there it is. Students and teachers share the same anticipation, anxiety, and excitement as a new school year approaches. We’re connected by these shared emotions. We know from experience that once that bell rings on that first day, the school year will be in motion and much of our anxiety and apprehension will subside as we become submerged in teaching, learning, and getting know each other.  School year 2013-2014, ready or not, here we come.

Kathleen SullivanKathleen Sullivan teaches 5th grade science at a public school in Malden, Mass.

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