One of the things I like best about being an educator is that we get to experience beginnings and endings each year. The work is cyclical. Begin in fall, finish a semester in winter and begin a new one, then finish again in Spring. I love getting to know a new group of strangers each fall, getting to know them (quirks and gifts and all) and seeing them off in the spring.
New staff arrive each year. This year at my school there are 13 new staff. Each person brings his or her gifts and expertise (or inexperience) to the table. At any rate, I enjoy making new friends, mentoring, and learning new tricks of the trade from new colleagues each year. This year I have a new co-teacher of American Lit. We've already met a few times to flesh out our vision of the course and the first unit and opening days. It's fun negotiating these new waters and learning each other's strengths and what philosophies we hold in common. I'll learn from him and he'll learn from me, and in the end both we and our students will be better for it.
The beginning of the school year also marks the opportunity to simply START OVER. Whatever I didn't like last year I can DO OVER. A bit of reflection after a unit or a year completed helps me to realize which things WORKED in the classroom and which ones DIDN'T. If I had a particularly difficult group to work with, here's a fresh start. If I had a particularly difficult schedule, here's a fresh start. If I had a rough ending to a year, here's a fresh start. And even if I just completed a magnificent year of teaching (as is the case with last year), I still have a fresh start - a new beginning. . . and it feels good!