For a few weeks now, Target and Walmart have had their back-to-school aisles fully stocked with shiny new markers, notebooks, and binders.
All the tools to help students transition back to school without a hitch are on sale – and tax-free through August 16th! Walking down these aisles reminds me of the back-to-school traditions I used to have with my parents and sisters growing up.
My mom always took us shopping for our back-to-school clothes and of course filled our brand new backpacks with all the supplies and pens and paper they could hold. My dad would take us to school on the first day, but not before having an early morning breakfast at IHOP for some delicious back-to-school pancakes.
For as long as I can remember I have loved school.
Now that I’ve been a teacher for 12 years, back to school is still one of my favorite times of the year!
It might be odd to hear that from a teacher, but for me, the excitement, the power of a brand new school year, and all the anticipation it can bring make it a really amazing time of year. Meeting new students, new parents, and getting to begin again, begin anew is exciting and invigorating. The new school year is a fresh start and the chance to see the year ahead of you with a fresh attitude.
One of the best professional learning experiences I’ve ever participated in came from learning about what it means to have a Growth Mindset from the work of Carol Dweck. Dweck teaches us that it’s okay to be new at something, to be a beginner. And that as a beginner, chances are you might make some mistakes. Seeing those mistakes as stepping stones to mastery and opportunities for growth is a huge mind shift. For me, back to school has always been about refocusing on the challenges ahead with renewed, stronger awareness and sense of vigor.
One of my back-to-school traditions has always been to remind myself that not only am I at the beginning of something, my students are as well.
So as you begin your back-to-school traditions this year, think about how you view the school year ahead. It’s okay to be a beginner, no one starts out being excellent.
Here’s to new beginnings and to embracing our inner beginners.