For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; Ecclesiastes 3:1-22
Today, I completed my first week of pre-planning in a new school, as a 5th grade teacher. I’ve spent time this summer reflecting and preparing, but nothing truly prepares someone for a new undertaking, you just have to get in there and do the work. However, this week did bring to mind this one important scripture: “For everything there is a season.” It’s important to know what needs to be planted, what elements need healing, breaking down, or building up. That’s why reflecting is so important. It offers the writer an opportunity to clear up the muddled thinking that often comes with change.
The following are some questions that I will reflect on as I begin my new journey:
1. What needs to be planted?: Above all, setting the foundation for strong relationships with students and parents. The students are why we strive for excellence. As educators, we want more for them. We work diligently to build them up to greater heights with the hope that they avoid some of our own past bumbling failures. We need to know them, and make that connection. Parents need to make that connection, too. We do this through personal phone calls, letters, and face to face interactions. Planting these seeds will lead to greater academic heights and overall school success as the year progresses.
2. What needs to be healed?: Relationships. It may have been with a student or fellow colleague, but if there is an unsettling feeling, then find a way to work it out. Just as an example, have you ever seen two parents who were not getting along, and always seemed to be bickering? Did you notice that their children seemed to be stressed out, tense, or quick to fight as well? This dynamic can happen in a school, too. If teachers are not getting along, and fighting with each other, the students feel it, and stress heightens. Don’t harbor resentment in a new school year. Find ways to work well together, and everyone will excel as as result.
3. What needs to be broken down? Anything and everything. Sometimes, we need to go backwards to move forwards. It may be that for certain areas, you need to learn and grow, while other areas need your leadership. It’s important to think on your strengths, and look at what you’ve been called to do by your administration. Personally, I know there are areas in which I’ve been asked to lead, but there are other areas of my instructional growth that I need to breakdown in order to build back up. As teachers, we can be models for our students, demonstrating to them that there is no straight line to success in any worthy endeavour. It requires constant learning, growing, and patience with the process.
4. What needs to be built up? As educators, we all have areas in need of growth. Once I step back and realize I may be slipping in a particular area, I think on it, knowing this area needs to be recognized. At that point, I can go to others who I know are strong in those areas, and ask for help. We are all beginners at something. It’s important to know when to follow and when to lead, while understanding and believing that you are doing your personal best each and everyday.
I’m looking forward to this school year. I know there is tremendous growth ahead. I wish all educators a successful journey, knowing that for everything there is a season.