An empty desk… 408 of these are sitting at my new school waiting to be filled with 408 new 4th and 5th graders full of hope, optimism, and endless potential. What will this new year bring? What will become of those bright young faces who all too soon will be the new leaders of our communities with children of their own? The simple answer is that we don’t know. The core of our work as education is fundamentally about hope. We work hard daily and hope to make a difference and improve on a future that we cannot see. Our hope extends beyond ourselves and encompasses each new child that is entrusted for a time to our care.
As I think back to my time as a 5th grader, I sincerely doubt that my teachers would have looked at me and saw a future principal of a school. I used bad language (whenever I was out of earshot of adults), got into the occasional fight on the playground, and raised an unfortunate finger toward my teacher when I thought her back was turned (I’m still really sorry Mrs. Rebol. I guess teachers really do have eyes in the back of their heads). Although I had my good qualities too, I certainly wasn’t a student you would have expected to have a great role in shaping the next generation as an adult.
In spite of all this, my parents continued to believe in and support me and so did many of my teachers. Where others would have seen rough edges, they were able to see the potential that was hidden within. What will your new year bring? What lies below the surface in your students waiting to be unlocked? Will you have eyes to see that hidden potential? Will you see your more challenging students as an inconvenience or an opportunity? Will you see student misbehavior as testing or annoying you or will you see a young person who needs to be taught new skills? Will you see a student doomed to continue to struggle or a student who is ready for the right spark that will light the fire within? A new year… Full of endless hopes and possibilities… What are your hopes for this new school year? Wishing you all your best one yet!