It happened today. That letter, or e-mail, in this day and time, that says "HEADS UP! OUT OF THE POOL!! YOU GO BACK TO SCHOOL IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS!!" Well, it says that in so many words. A welcome back letter, with staff changes included. Information on when we can move in to our classrooms. Rules upon rules. No paper here, don't plug anything there, less is more, keep it tidy.....I feel the stress in my stomach already.
We always go back at the end of the summer. And in a way, I'm ready. It's just that I can't stand repetitiveness. Every year the same speeches, meetings, discussions dragged on by people who just have to find the holes and complain, or question ridiculous details. Repeat, repeat. Yes, I remember a year later. I went to new student orientation at Texas Tech last week, for the second time. Chancellor Nance gave the same speech to the parents as he did a year ago - word for word. Don't get me wrong, it was an awesome speech, and Tech is an awesome school. But I felt, as I always do when made to 'sit through it again', that my time was devalued by the presentation. It's as if someone says to you: "I don't care that you've heard this before, your time doesn't matter, you are of no consequence, because it has to be said and your ears have to hear it again." It feels personal.
There are some items of value in the back-to-school meetings. Meeting new staff. Catching up with everyone. Any big changes. In other words, anything we haven't already been over a million times before. Is my time better served figuring out the first couple of week's lessons, or running through the building for some sort of team-building race? If I teach your child, which would you prefer?
Our letter also had staff changes. I knew that a team member of ours was leaving, and I look forward to meeting the new person. That's right, none of us have met them yet, so don't ask us about them! We weren't involved. Nobody asked us.
I want what I always want - to be a good teacher and have a good year. To inspire children. To get off the subject every now and then just to talk about history, or current events, or that popular Youtube video. I want to encourage, problem-solve, cheer, smile, demand, praise, connect: TEACH!!! If you let me do that, I promise not to stick the wrong papers on the wrong walls with the wrong stuff. Thank you.