They throw the word "survival" around a lot at new teachers. People in all parts of the business talk about how little prep pre-service people get. You can student teach and observe all you want, it's just so different when the kids belong to you.

Well, you've jumped that hurdle. You're no longer the rookie. Likely some wide-eyed new teacher is going to look to you for advice now. Unless no one in your department left and you're still the new kid. It happens.

Hopefully some time was spent in reflection, whether during the summer or in the heat of the moment as some well-crafted lesson blew up in your face. Everyone's been there.

What's so great about year two?

Let me tell two stories. In 2006 I was thrown on a construction project that was finishing. Some months before I started working, a steel mast was moved to solve a problem. Two years later it caused another problem which became my problem despite never seeing the thing get installed or know any of the motivation behind the move. In 2007 I was negotiating a generator rental. They had some problems with terms. I consented to changes but nothing was executed by anyone with real power. Job goes by, generator bills paid on time (which is all anyone cares about), and everyone's happy. In 2009 I get a call at like 8pm because my negotiation fake out was causing someone else problems, said generator company using a random e-mail I sent as their source of argument. It all went away (like I said, nothing was ever signed, I'm not stupid).

Point is, things rarely come back to haunt you in education. The lesson you're going to deliver better this year? The kids never have to know it sucked the first time. The student you were happy to say goodbye to? Unlikely to cause a problem for you ever again. Those final exams you kept? You can throw them away! School year's end and you move on. You get a reset button.

That's what I love about August. Summer's over, sure. But all the excitement is still there. Flipping through the newly minted class list, figuring out where the heck they're all supposed to sit, rethinking your bulletin board, and even seeing what new and exciting things might be on the duty list.

Enjoy the freshness. Don't underestimate its importance.

AuthorJonathan Claydon