Fresh Starts and New Beginnings

I was on vacation last week. Real vacation – at a place away from home and work – at the beach. We go away this same week every year knowing that when we return we have one full week before school starts. The vacation week is lazy. We rest at the beach, we eat great food, I read, and at night we return to the beach to fly kites. We relish every single moment of this week and live it recklessly, purposely avoiding  routine and schedules. I love vacation. 

Two days into the next week, I am digging down deep to savor that carefree feeling…how can this be? Because we’re BACK. I began my first day back at work with a meeting of the district Professional Development Committee. The meeting had been scheduled to last three hours, but ended in two. I was thrilled as this gave me a full hour to get to another school where we were conducting interviews for a visual art position there.

The opening was for an elementary art position that we had filled in June. The new hire found a job closer to home and we suddenly found ourselves without an art teacher for this school just one week before classes begin. We interviewed candidates for four hours and hired our second-to-last candidate. There is nothing like interviewing art teachers to get an art teacher’s reflective juices flowing.

As we closed the interview process I felt relief that we had found a completely satisfactory candidate on such notice. She is smart, she is an artist, she has embraced technology and has a clear understanding of how to best use it in art education. Along with extensive coursework in art making, she is educated in special needs, assessment, curriculum mapping, educational philosophy and pedagogy. She has student taught (student-teacher is my favorite oxymoron) in inner-city schools and has the portfolio to prove it. I am very excited to welcome her to our K-12 Visual Art team and will be meeting with her this morning to help take inventory of her supplies and see what else she may need. She has a new beginning and I am very excited for her!

My poor head has been a buzz since I left that school yesterday. The experience of interviewing others has energized me and I cannot wait to start this day. I am going in to school first thing this morning to put the furniture back where it belongs in the art room now that the annual floor stripping and waxing is complete. When that is finished and the tables are set up to place them on, I’ll unpack all the supplies that have arrived in many boxes (it’s a lot like Christmas) and put them away. And then I’ll spark up the computer and make a “To Do” list. I don’t know for sure, but I expect the list will include downloading class lists, making a plan book, establishing first lessons, constructing a calendar, writing parent letters, defining sketchbook projects, and so on (stay tuned)! Yet another thing I love about being a teacher is the fresh start of a new school year. You can’t beat it. Between the unpacking of supplies and planning for a new beginning, it’s like the Christmas and New Year of summer.

Gosh – I went just from the halcyon days of vacation to being completely absorbed in my work in 10 seconds flat…welcome back!Image


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