Every second brings a fresh beginning, every hour holds a new promise, every night our dreams can bring hope, and every day is what you choose to make it. ~Unknown
There are many professions where one day blurs with another. Mind numbing routine that seemingly never ends – day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year. I am thankful that education is not one of those professions. Each day is truly an opportunity for a new beginning. A fresh start. Even better, education affords the chance to begin anew with the arrival of a new school year.
As we approach the end of our school year, most of us have a relatively firm grasp of the remaining days (eighteen, I believe), and the term “survival” gets bantered around the workroom, and faculty lounge, with increased frequency. Certainly, this anticipation of a break, and a new beginning, isn’t without merit, but I have been encouraging our students and staff to take a different approach as we edge closer to the end of the school year. Don’t see this as the end, but the beginning of something new. A transition, if you will.
For those who are focused, this time of year presents wonderful opportunities. These moments may take the form of appropriate instructional risks, as mentioned by Justin Tarte (@justintarte) in his blog post entitled It’s that time of year again… (be sure to read, and accept, Justin’s challenge). It could be the chance to demonstrate an extra degree of patience and understanding with others, as encouraged in the post The End is Near, by Tom Altepeter (@tomaltepeter). Or it might simply be the opportunity to set a positive tone for the next school year – balancing empathy with expectations. The point is, that if we shift into survival mode, even for just a few days, we do a disservice to all involved…ourselves included.
It isn’t an easy task. The amount of work to do often seems inversely proportionate to the amount of time remaining in the school year. Schedules fill up. Patience dwindles. And, at least in Arizona, it becomes unbearably hot (trust me, it matters). But, beginning at the end tends to keep the focus where it belongs…it encourages an attitude of continual improvement. This mindset can provide a little extra energy, a little more “positivity.” As with most things that happen at our schools, and in our classrooms, our students will take their cues from us. Survive or thrive? Fizzle or spark? Settle or excel?
Our attitudes make the difference. Begin at the end.