I used to dread the first day of school.
I know I was not alone. I think it’s just something that all kids feel, those butterflies in their stomachs, the knowledge that the season-long weekend of summer is over, the fear of the unknown. And I was a good student too! But it did not matter. The night before the first day was hard.
The funny thing was that as soon as Day One of school got started, that fear always disappeared. Once I found my new desk and heard my new teacher’s voice, I always knew things would be okay. It was going to be a good year. And I had a lot of really good years with really good teachers. It’s hard to even think of a bad school year, honestly.
Today is another first day of school for me, but now I’m on the other side of things. Instead of just buying a new backpack and pencils, I had a list of supplies worth hundreds of dollars for my classroom. And instead of dreading Day One, I have been excited.
I have been excited to have my routine back. I am excited to see the children again. I have been rehearsing Day One in my head for a couple of weeks now. The first day of school is probably the day I think about the most and it is the day when my words are the most rehearsed, the most carefully considered.
Teaching has this unique luxury of having this annual restart button. We get a Day One every year. No matter how last year went, we get to turn over a new leaf and start fresh.
Maybe it would be great if we all had a Day One. New Year’s Day is no good. That day is cold and gray and we hate it. Not a day to set resolutions that we are going to fail to keep. Just a day to say, it’s a new day, and it does not have to be like yesterday. Maybe your job needs a Day One. Maybe it’s your marriage or even your faith life.
So set a Day One on your calendar. Rehearse what it will look like. Make plans for it. Buy something new for it! Anticipate it.
Today is a new day. And it does not have to be like yesterday.