Saturday, September 1, 2007

Happy New Year

I am a teacher. I make New Year's resolutions twice a year. Like most people, I make them as the new year approaches, after the busyness and chaos of the holidays. I take time to take stock and figure out where I can make improvements in my life. But I also get a clean slate and a new beginning each September as the new school year approaches.

There is an old joke about teaching that the three best things about the profession are June, July and August. Any teacher worth her salt knows that these are the months, after the busyness and chaos of the preceding school year, to reflect and ask the hard questions about what you could have done better, brush up on your subject matter, and make improvements. Somewhere in there you try to rest up and restore yourself to yourself.

Although I hate the end of summer and its slower pace, I do feel excited by the prospect of a new year. I mark this fresh start with tangible tokens of newness: new pens, pencils, papers, and the latest organization system that I am sure will beat the one from the year before. And then I buy tissues, vitamin C, hand lotion, jugs of hand sanitizer and granola bars. It all gets packed in my "new school bag" which I convince myself will be sturdy enough to last the whole year.

Before long, the school year will start to drag. I will feel stressed, forgetful and bone-tired. A thought will creep in that I've got to make some changes fast, or the quality of my life will be strained. And it just so happens that this will occur right around December 31st: the perfect time for a clean slate and some new resolutions.

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