The first day of school always floods my mind with memories…. The crispness of the fall air, the pile of shiny new school supplies, the excitement of reuniting with friends I hadn’t seen since spring. For those of us who grew up and chose to work in the education system, the emotions that arise at this time of year run even deeper than that which are brought with these nostalgic childhood images. We know the incredible power of education, and how it can change people’s lives. It’s easy to get caught up in the thrill that comes from having the opportunity to really make a difference in the world. That first day of school is so exciting!
But if we are going to serve our students well, it’s important to remember that not everyone experiences this day in the same way. For some, there may be embarrassment about not being able to afford all the new clothes and supplies that others have. It may mark the return to a place where they are excluded on a daily basis from feeling like a part of the group. It may signify many torturous hours to come of feeling overwhelmed and frustrated by academics that they just never seem to be able to grasp. Although we may do our best to instill in our students the idea that there is a world of possibilities open to them, some will not believe that this applies to them.
Let’s make sure that we remain open to understanding the reality of every student that comes through our doors this September. Otherwise, we may miss the opportunity to create the connection with a child that is needed to help them grow and flourish to their fullest potential.
All the best to each of you this school year!