Christmas Eve in August.

Tomorrow starts a new school year — my third first day teaching. It’s a little past 11pm and I can’t sleep, and I’m wide awake contemplating all the scenarios that will play out tomorrow when I get new third graders in my classroom.

This is equivalent to Christmas Eve for me. I’m awake, I’m excited, and I can’t wait for tomorrow.

Tonight, not only am I thinking about my plans to teach expectations and the games that we’ll play during class, but I’m also contemplating something a former teacher said to me today. I’ve truly been blessed with some incredible teachers throughout the entirety of my educational career (public school FTW!), and I’ve been even MORE blessed to have the opportunity to stay in touch with them through the years (thanks, social media!). My eighth grade social studies teacher attends church with my parents and I saw him this morning. I enjoyed his class, and I still remember information rooted in North Carolina’s history thanks to his teaching tricks. He was so encouraging when he found out I was going to be a teacher five years ago.

Good luck! Another year to make a difference!

Another year to make a difference. Teacher friends, I encourage you to see this year as another year to make a difference in the lives of children, in the lives of families, in the lives of coworkers. Our job as teachers is not only to educate children based on the standards at hand, but also to teach them how to be kind, well-rounded citizens of a greater community. This isn’t a business model we’re working with, but with children. Little human beings who have only been on this planet for, in my case, eight years. Eight years! What was I doing eight years ago? Oh yeah, living in teen angst and blasting Dashboard Confessional in my car on the way to school to take the SATs. My kids missed out on the greats like Backstreet Boys, Full House, and Nanopets. They weren’t around for 9/11, and they don’t remember when Barack Obama was elected president for the first time (and maybe even the second). We are ultimately charged with teaching kids about how to be people. How to learn from people. How to be better people.

I was reminded of this again looking in Philippians this morning. Paul writes in Philippians 2:4,

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Another year to make a difference, looking out for the interest of my kids.

I’m excited and nervous and happy and anxious and every other emotion in between, per usual for my Christmas Eve in August. I’m bursting at the seams with joy that I get to invest in 40 little lives this year and watch each child grow in confidence and independence. I’m just so thrilled to get back into my sweet spot.

That SleepyTime tea is welcomed to kick in at aaany moment now…

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