September first starts my fifteenth year as a teacher and I find myself — after so many years — tossing and turning in fitful sleep as the first day of school approaches.
The other night it was the frantic search for enough chairs to fit my students in a classroom that was really a dining room. Why was I trying to hold class in someone’s dining room? It was illogical, but I found myself trying to welcome my class and appear cool, calm and collected though the tight space was throwing off my lesson plan.
Even in my dreams, I struggle with striking the right chord the very moment my students enter my classroom. Achieving balance between discipline and creativity is no easy feat. You want the young people placed in your care to feel safe enough to share their dreams as well as brave enough to attempt new ideas and practices.
Respect is at the foundation.
My respect for who they are and who they are growing into, their respect for one another and their respect for all that I offer them, wholeheartedly.
Fifteen years later, I am glad that I dream misplaced lesson plans or desks full of sticky kindergarteners instead of my middle schoolers because the dreaming lets me know that I am very much dedicated to my role as educator. These haunting dreams reflect passion, committment and urgency.
Wonder what I will dream tonight…