Every year around this time I start to get excited. Excited for the possibility of the upcoming school year. Excited to meet my new charges. Excited to learn and try something new. Excited to buy all the supplies I will need to be successful during the upcoming year (I admit this unashamedly). Excited to catch up with my colleagues. The charge is almost electric.
This year, I am taking this electricity and channeling it into a pledge to my students, to my colleagues, and to myself before I even walk over the threshold of the building. Here’s what I’ve come up with.
To my students:
I pledge to be tough with you. My goal is not to be your favorite teacher, my goal is to make sure you learn. Some days it may upset you, but in the end, I care more about your success than about your feelings toward me as a person. Your future is linked with mine, too and I’m invested in your success.
I pledge to listen to you. I understand that we are coming from different perspectives, and I will consider your needs, but I will also push you past your comfort zone.
I pledge to smile long before Thanksgiving. My classroom is not a scary place, it’s a safe place where you are free to make mistakes and learn from them. Such an environment requires strictness, but it also requires a sense of humor.
To my colleagues:
I pledge not to complain. It feels so good sometimes, but in the end, it doesn’t get us anywhere. I’m going to try to be more positive and find solutions to our frustrations. If I can’t, I can offer you a drink and an ear at the end of a tough day.
I pledge to help you when I can with whatever I can. Last year, I was so swamped with work that I was stressing about making it to my morning and afternoon duties. Two colleagues were willing to cover them for me and I was so very grateful. I want to pay it forward.
I pledge to laugh with you. No explanation needed. A smile always makes us feel better.
I pledge to revamp the successful lessons I’ve already taught. I don’t want to get stagnant. I want to keep improving and I can’t wait to make good lessons great ones.
I pledge not to stress about things that are out of my control. There is so much that is out of my hands and I can’t waste valuable time worrying about things over which I have no influence.
I pledge to enjoy even the tough moments. This year I want to embrace my (past and present) mistakes and learn from them. I want my students to learn from their mistakes and I want to be more open to learning from my own as well. It’s tough sometimes, but worth it.
What are your pledges for this school year?