Getting back to school after the Christmas break is always a little challenging – it’s dark, it’s cold, and I’ve become accustomed to reading and drinking tea at a leisurely pace in the morning. That being said, I couldn’t have asked for a better beginning to January.
On Thursday, our first day back, my lovely teacher-librarian (recently re-titled “instructional team coach”) had planned a “book tasting” for my grade 7/8 ELA class. In the morning, I helped her transform the library into a restaurant where students would enjoy an appetizer, three main courses, and a dessert, all consisting of different genres of books. The students were thrilled to be able to sample a variety of books that were new to them, in a relaxed and engaging atmosphere. The table talk as students worked their way through each course was excellent! As the wait staff, the teacher-librarian and I provided the tables with a new course at regular intervals, then arranged that each student would take home a doggy-bag containing a favourite book from the tasting. I am so thankful to work with someone who is willing to plan such a special event that inspires my students to begin a great new year of reading!
On Friday, my kindergarten students returned to school full of excitement and information about the recent holiday. It never fails to surprise me how much older the youngest students seem after only a two week break! There were some rough patches: two weeks is a long time to remember some of the routines, such as where the agendas go after they’ve been stamped, or how to sit on the carpet! But there were some golden moments too, such as sharing and re-enacting the book The Mitten, and observing how well students understood and followed the new centres expectations I had set out.
Also on Friday, a former principal and dear friend sent a touching email about how much she appreciates that we stay connected. It was inspired by a Daily Café Friday Tip she had read on the topic, and I was flattered that she sees me as someone who “fuels her fire”. The fire fueling is reciprocal – I can always count on her to send me interesting ideas and articles, and to challenge me professionally. She’s one of those people who makes me want to do more and be better tomorrow than I am today.
Quiet mornings at home are a pleasure, but getting back to school helps me realize how blessed I am to work in a profession that gives me personal and professional fulfillment, and allows me to work and collaborate with some exceptional educators. They, and the students, consistently feed my fire, and encourage me to strive to be a better teacher.
Here’s to 2017!