Tuesday, August 13, 2013

New Beginnings

"The ending … is merely the winter season -
the time of renewal and rebirth
that precedes the new planting -
the beginning of the next great cycle.”
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

I find teaching, students’ developmental milestones and my emotions to those events to be very cyclic and almost predictable in nature. For the last decade, I have come to be able to predict what behaviors and/or trends will manifest themselves in my classroom in October, January and May. Each August, I obtain a new class list and as I write those names on desks and in books, they are simply combined letters on a page. Fast forward to the end of the year and those names are no longer a random grouping of letters, but now define a relationship; an imprint on my heart and hold memories that I will remember for years to come. 

These cycles and changes are one of the many things that I appreciate about teaching. They grant teachers and students a new beginning each year. Whether you have a child entering kindergarten or 12th grade; whether you are a returning student or one that is new to Greensboro Day School; or whether you are a veteran teacher or a new hire - new beginnings can be both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. This year marks my 18th new beginning at Greensboro Day School. I feel the same rush of anxiety and excitement as I did in my earlier years.

As we approach the start of school, I find that children and adults benefit from some of the same strategies during this time of transition.

  • Enjoy every moment of the dog days of summer, appreciate it for the season in which it is, and find comfort in the knowing that it will come again. 
  • Find moments to reconnect with school social groups and to reach out to new acquaintances. 
  • Begin preparing for the upcoming transition back to school a few weeks before the first day. Slowly adapt your daily schedule to provide routine, restful evenings and earlier bedtimes.
  • Embrace the new school year and all the opportunities it will offer.
  • Remain mindful, open and positive. We are all experiencing a new beginning. Within our school community, resources and support abound. Reach out to a member of our school family if you or your child has questions or needs support during this time.
  • Allow yourself and your child time to adjust. Change can feel quick and rushed at times; however, it’s important to keep in mind that adapting well to something new takes time.

“Transition comes along when one chapter of your life is over
and another is waiting in the wings to make its entrance."
-William Bridges

As I wait in the wings to welcome back former students and to reconnect with peers and families that have become valued friends over the years, I also look forward to all the new people that I will have the opportunity to meet. Best wishes for a year full of meaningful and happy, new experiences and new beginnings. - Kelly Sipe, Kindergarten Teacher