It is now just one week before school starts for the 2011-2012 school year and there is so much to do. A room to decorate, lessons to prepare, changes to implement, collaborations in which to engage, new technologies to try, and the names and faces of new little people to learn. All of this comes at the end of a summer filled with not only relaxing and spending time with family, but also of learning and preparing for teaching. I find as I go through life that often timing is everything, and once again that has happened in my life. Two summer experiences have overlapped this week that will influence my teaching in the coming days. The first is reading Brain Rules, by John Medina. The second is creating a Facebook group for people who grew up in the same small town where I spent my childhood. As my friends and I are all in our 50's and 60's it is interesting to read the memories that our brains recall from those long ago days in that small community. The first recollections posted were all about school. The best and the worst were on the list. Teachers and classroom experiences recalled were all so strikingly similar. That in itself is not so unusual as we all had the same teachers and spent so many years together in classrooms, but out of all those years only certain memories remain for all of us. The common thread to all the memories is emotion.
Beginning a new school year with a classroom full of small children is such a tremendous responsibility. My reading and active recollection of memories from my own childhood and those of my childhood friends just reinforce the importance of taking time in my preparation to realize that each child who enters my room will be an individual person worthy of the best experiences I can provide. Each individual child is the light of someone's life. They all deserve to be treated as such. No two are alike and no two have exactly the same needs. They all learn in different ways and at different rates, but each will grow to be an adult with memories of school. Will I create memories that will last for decades? Our world is changing at a rapid rate as technology evolves to change how we do things, but the needs of people remain the same.
So as I prepare to do my best in presenting curriculum, assessments, and classroom management, incorporating new 21st century methods and technologies, I will slow down and take time to reflect about each child and remember to keep those young lives at the top of the list in priority. They deserve the best and we will, hopefully, build memories to last a lifetime.