Happy New Year!
For the majority of the adult population, the start of a new year corresponds with the commencement of a new fiscal one. The date is January 1st, and the ceremonious occasion is celebrated with champagne, a ball-drop countdown, and resolutions for the year to come.
For teachers, however, the start of a new year is marked by the first day of school. The date is different than the January “new year”, but the excitement, anticipation, and sleeplessness leading up to it are the same. It happens somewhere between the end of August and the day after Labor Day and the event is celebrated with teacher workshops, lesson plans, and back to school shopping. (Like students, teachers love back to school shopping! I guess you never truly grow out of the love for new binders and pens, or for the carefully selected apparel ensemble that gets laid out the night before the first day.)
As I have learned by living the hockey life, the teacher’s year coincides with a hockey player’s year rather nicely. The season begins, in most leagues, around the time that school starts. In the weeks leading up to it, players hit the ice to prepare for pre-season training. They organize their work-out schedules like teachers do lesson plans. And they do their own version of back-to-school shopping. Skates, sticks, and, for Kevin, goalie equipment. Pads, gloves, blockers, chest protectors, and helmets, and he awards the same meticulous attention to choosing the color scheme for that protective gear as I do when selecting color coordinated school supplies for my classes.
Though I will not be teaching this year (school year, that is), I appreciate that my life still revolves around the same schedule. Many years of operating on the school year calendar make me look forward to September as a month of new beginnings in the same way that most people look forward to January. And I’m glad that I can still experience the excitement I would normally feel this time of year even though I am not returning to the classroom. Because, while I am not prepping the classroom and planning original ice-breaker activities for a new crew of math scholars, I am packing for Italy. And as much as I will miss being a part of the school community, I am excited to see what the year will bring.