Two weeks ago, on the eve of my second first day as a teacher, I was a different kind of nervous. Last year I was worried about my classroom not being ready for my students and I was worried about whether or not I would be able to handle the responsibility of my role. This year, I was ready to roll, but I was worried that what I have to offer my students isn’t enough to launch them on a long-term path to success. I know that my students from last year are more than ready for first grade, but are they ready for the future? Are they ready for the world? I guess I can’t really expect to prepare them myself, but then I wonder if I invested their parents enough. Did they make the right school choice? Will they be taken care of by their new teacher? I hope the answers are yes, but I really won’t know for several years. So when I walked into my classroom on Tuesday, September 4, 2012, I wanted to know that I was going to change my students’ lives and put them on a sure path to success. I can say that I’m trying, but I’ll never be sure.
I do know that I have a better-behaved batch of twelve boys and girls, and I think we’re going to do a better job covering material than I did with my last class. This is because, for the most part, we’ve all been in the school for two years now. All but two were enrolled in K4 at the school, and we know I made it through a year of K5! We’re ready to take on K5 standards and “buzz” to first grade–my new classroom theme is built around Kalamazoo College. I’m excited to talk about the election with my students. I’m excited to go on more field trips. I’m excited to teach! So, part of my mind tells me this year has to be better, but I don’t think I’ll ever shake this nervous feeling deep down inside that I will fail. That I won’t be enough. I guess a little Marianne Williamson is in order.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people, permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
As I enter week three of year two, it’s time to shed the fear and just do my thing. I think we’re going to be fabulous. There, I said it.