Posted in Education, Teaching

Sometimes a Mouse is Just a Mouse: The Start of a New School Year

The other day, I was driving up to my school’s main campus when all of a sudden a red-tailed hawk flew right in front of my car, holding a small mouse in its talons.  Wow, I thought, that was so cool.  What are the odds of seeing such a rare bird on a hunt flying so low?  It must be a sign.  Perhaps the hawk represents me and the mouse is the school year, as if I’m grabbing the year by its head and taking control.  Yeah, that must be it because the opposite seems quite scary.

So, to be sure I was in control of the impending academic year, I started setting up my classroom early.  I arranged the funiture in just the right configuration.  I was able to order new desks and chairs for my room this year.  I’m super excited.  I now have six whiteboard tables in my classroom.  They are so cool.  The students can write on the tables, I can help them through a math problem, or I can spell a word for them.  So awesome.  My favorite new items are the chairs though.  I found these cool rocking type chairs to help the students move safely to stay focused.  In the past, when they leaned back in the classrom chairs we had, they fell backwards.  It was just a matter of time before someone suffered a concussion, and we can’t have that.  The new chairs are amazing.  I’ve been breaking them in all week.  They even help me focus, which is always a challenge.  

I changed up a few things in the classroom this year too, but most everything is the same as in years past.  It feels good to have the space all ready to go.  I even made a classroom tour video I posted online for my students and their families to check out prior to the start of school.  I also have lesson plans for the first two weeks of classes all ready to go.  I’m beyond prepared, I’m the red-tailed hawk ready to devour the year.  Bring it on!

However, no matter how prepared I am each year, I still get nervous.  What if the students don’t like me?  What if I mess up?  What if I say the wrong thing?  What if the technology fails and I can’t get my lessons working?  What if I lose my voice on the first day of school?  What if?  The world could also be sucked into a black hole tomorrow.  Then what?  Why focus on the negatives?  What about all the positives?  What if the students love me?  What if the chemistry of my class is perfectly balanced and everything goes well all year?  What if my lesson creates an a-ha moment for my students?  What if?  Imagine all the possibilites.  Maybe I’m not the red-tailed hawk.  Perhaps I’m the mouse and the school year is holding me in its grips, but not to eat, to protect.  Or, what if my students are the mouse or hawk?  However, sometimes a mouse is just a mouse.

No matter what happens though, my classroom is all set and ready to go for classes.  My brain is calibrated and everything is fired up.  I’m excited for all and/or any of the possibilities.  I just can’t wait for the students to arrive.

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Author:

I teach sixth grade at Cardigan Mountain School in Canaan, NH. I'm currently ensconced in my fourteenth year at this small, independent boys' school. I love engaging students in relevant and hands-on learning. I was nominated for the NH Teacher of the Year Award in 2016 by a parent. While I love education and guiding students, my first passion is my family. I have a wonderful son, Jeffrey, and a beautiful and intelligent wife, Kim. I couldn't be happier. Every day is the best day of my life.

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