Summer is a pretty amazing time. It grants our students opportunities no other season can. Vacations to national parks, swim lessons, gainful employment in a corn field, and that glorious thing known as free time are among the experiences Summer has in spades. Growing up on a farm with parents who also had full time professions Summer was when Dad would say “Have this taken care of by the time I get home from work.” And whatever the task was I had all day to take care of it on my own terms. I loved it. Summer is this ethereal season that generates memories which never leave us during a time which feels both brief and never ending. Summer is simply magical. We want to hold it like cold pump water in our hands and drink as much of it as we can as the unpreventable spill drains from our fingers. We love Summer because it is fleeting. We run headlong with joy into it because we know an expiration date looms and every second is sweeter because of that limitation.
And what is that looming expiration date which both creates and terminates Summer’s magic? It’s not the Autumnal Equinox. It’s not the first frost. It’s not the changing of the leaves or any other signal of weather. It’s not Labor Day or the when State Fair concludes.
Summer ends with four words. First Day of School.
With that date on the calendar Summer surrenders its benevolent rule and the structure, rigor, and schedule of our academic institutions becomes the commanding force displacing all of the sublime endeavors Summer has graced us with.
Farewell Ice Cream Truck.
Adieu Sleeping In.
Audios Double Headers at the Ballpark.
Working On Your Tan, see you in 8 or 9 months.
With everything we give up at the end of Summer our buddy known as the First Day of School ends up taking a bad rap. It gets labeled as a fun hater, the end of all we’ve come to relish, and freedom’s sudden and unwelcome stop.
But I’ve got a secret for you. Really a two part secret. Don’t repeat this first part out loud because vocalizing only spurs the resistance but truth be told our students are excited to come back to school. My proof? Nobody puts that much effort into thinking about what they are going to wear unless they are stoked to be there. Our schools and classrooms bring experiences and opportunities which rival even the best of Summer. I could go into all the things our classes, activities, sports, and traditions have to compete with Summer’s best but that’s not the point I want to get across. Instead let’s get to part two of the secret. Some students are excited for school for one reason and one reason only.
They want to come back to school simply because they know you are going to be the teacher.
Think about that. In all likelihood they have loved Summer vacation and they are willing to put all of that behind them just because of you. You, because of the relationships you foster and the care and passion you bring to your service, are more than enough to not only alleviate the grief of Summer’s departure but generate genuine excitement for the First Day of School. It’s also important to remember that we have students that haven’t experienced the joy of Summer. For them the departure from school as Summer gets underway isn’t such a great thing. For some students school is the best place they have. They have been waiting all Summer to get back to the best place they have. You are one of the reasons why school is the best they place they have. They are excited for the First Day of School because of you as well.
Be that person.
Keep doing the things that make students excited to be in your class.
Do those things consistently, intentionally, with a plan to make it happen every day.
Remind your peers about the awesome things they do for students because sometimes we need to hear it from someone else.
We wouldn’t have a need for schools if we didn’t have students so it’s good to have them excited to come back. Thanks for being the reason why Summer doesn’t stand a chance against the First Day of School.
You can read more of what Mark and Sam have to say in their book It Happens In The Hallway. Just click here.