Centered: The Arizona K12 Center’s Executive Director, Dr. Kathy Wiebke, offers her education insights in this monthly column. When I was a kid, I crafted my letter to Santa from the Sears catalog. The arrival of that catalog signified Christmas was around the corner.Similarly, as a teacher, the saSep 09, 2016
Centered: The Arizona K12 Center’s Executive Director, Dr. Kathy Wiebke, offers her education insights in this monthly column.
When I was a kid, I crafted my letter to Santa from the Sears catalog. The arrival of that catalog signified Christmas was around the corner.
Similarly, as a teacher, the same could be said of the Target ads that appeared in the Sunday paper in mid-July. When I was a classroom teacher, back-to-school season was one of my favorite times of year. Every summer, I would scour the Sunday newspaper looking for the Target ads that shared the deals on markers, spiral notebooks, and folders. I loved the adventure and fighting the man when they dared put limits on my purchases. Do they not know I’m not afraid to come back and bring friends?
I loved the newness of each new school year. I worked hours to make a classroom that was inviting and engaging. I hovered over the school secretary’s desk waiting for my class lists because I had things to label. I loved it all.
There were rituals about back to school. Target. Teaching Tools. Back to Target. Back to Teaching Tools. Then, hours in my classroom. The night before the first day of school, I would make one last stop. Right before I was ready to head home I would take a final look at the room, imagining the kids that would inhabit these four walls, and consume my life over the next nine months. I was energized by the unpredictable moments ahead. I was ready to give my students the very best I had.
For me, teaching was as much a hobby as it was a career. I loved finding the perfect lesson to capture the attention of that kid in the back of the room giving me the stare down with his arms folded, daring me to teach him.
I was far from perfect. I had many days of frustration and disappointment — days I knew I could do better. Sometimes, I wondered where I went wrong. But each time, I dusted myself off and showed up the next day. I don’t think my students ever realized how much they fulfilled me — they were my kids. I loved the look on their face when they understood a new concept. I gushed when they took time to help another classmate.
Each new school year brings new faces both in and out of our classroom. We welcome them all because they are part of the school community. Whether it is the new family that moved into the neighborhood, that kid who is the brother of a former student, or the first year teacher down the hall … they are part of the family. And, in my opinion, once someone is a part of the family, they are always part of the family.
So family, let’s take care of one another. My wish for everyone, now that we’re one month-plus into the school year, is that each person is cared for and provided the environment to learn and grow. My question for you: What inspires you? What gives you that first day of school feeling 30 days in? What if, as educators, we strive to teach, lead, and live as energized as we felt on the eve of back to school?