The day has finally arrived! The day we have spent countless hours preparing for…the first day of school! The bulletin boards are done, the pencils are sharpened, and soon the seats in your classroom will be full. This day represents the hope of new beginnings, fresh opportunities and endless possibilities.
Yet…you will face challenges this year. Not every day will be as exciting as the first day. Some days will be excruciatingly hard. No matter how much you care and how hard you work, things won’t be perfect. Sometimes lessons will go wrong, a student may be disrespectful, a parent may be rude, and you will be exhausted.
But even on those days, whether they are five or fifteen years old, they are counting on you. All of those faces are watching you. They are learning from you. Even on the hard days. They are learning that when someone is rude, you can choose to show grace. They are learning that you make mistakes too, and, through that, they’re learning resilience. They are learning to find their voice and to share their thoughts, and they are learning how to contribute. They are watching on the good days. They are watching on the hard days. They are watching you, and I see you.
I see you pouring over your lesson plans, collaborating in PLCs and giving your very best. I see that tear slip down your face as you cry over the student who just told you his mom has cancer. I see you sneaking that student lunch money, because you know it’s the only good meal she will eat today. I see you pouring over the data and wondering how you can teach that concept better. I see you feeling like you aren’t enough. But you are. You are the one.
As the seats in your room fill up tomorrow, you will wear your best smile. Look into those eyes filled with hope as they peer back at you, and let each one of them know they matter, that no matter what, you will not give up and so neither can they. Give them the gift of hope.
Let’s win this first day of school. Let’s win the second day. Let’s win the first week and the first term. Let’s win the semester, and let’s win the year. Our students are worth every exhausting minute, every hard day, every frustrating moment, because they matter. They are worth it. Every one of them deserves an excellent teacher, and you are the one they need.