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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Another Beginning

Recently, we had over 450 kids in the gym.  Over 450 kids about to begin high school for the first time.  Some of them awkward.  Nervous.  Unsure.  Maybe afraid.  Some tried to act cool.  Some used humor to hide what they really felt.  We noticed a “quietness” that we’ve not seen in some of the classes coming through.

No matter what we try to do with the new ninth graders, and we’ve been doing transition days since I became the principal at this school, the kids are nervous.  We try to put them at ease.  We play games.  We break them up into groups.  We pair up juniors and seniors who volunteer to mentor the new kids.  We try to break down walls, barriers.  With three feeder schools, it’s hard.  It takes almost a full year for them to be “high school kids”. 

And I think those kids were very much like some of us at that age.  Some of us were awkward.  Socially inept.  Nervous.  Unsure.  Maybe afraid. 

We had sessions and workshops for the parents at the same time the kids were in the gym.  About half of them were parents of freshmen for the first time, while others were “veterans”.  And I noticed when I talked to these parents, their feelings mirrored their kids.  Having had three freshmen at various times, I understand their feelings.  I felt them too.

Another Beginning.

Today, we drove Hannah to college.  Her second year.  Making that trip last year was tough.  This year . . . well, it wasn’t exactly easy.  Maybe a bit easier, but not really easy.  She greeted friends from last year.  Her roommate, Taylor, is the same one she had her freshman year.  They get along so well.  Pretty much alike.

While Hannah and Emily set up her room, Kim and I made a grocery run.  We let them be, maybe just got out of her hair. The four of us went to lunch and then back to school to drop Hannah off.  We said goodbye.  Never easy, at least for me.  No, not easy.  Maybe a bit easier, but not really easy.  I guess I said that already, huh?

On Monday, my teachers and staff return for Another Beginning.  Some of their colleagues won’t return though.  A couple retired.  Some got jobs in other districts . . . other states.  One or two won’t be able to begin the year with us.  One is battling an illness.  One is facing surgery.

And in their place, some new teachers.  Some for the first time ever.  Brand new.  Rookies.  Probably like the kids . . . Nervous.  Unsure.  Maybe afraid.

Another Beginning.

I guess it doesn’t matter at what age, Beginnings can cause fear, some nervousness.  We face uncertainty.  We’re unsure.

And like the kids in their new situation, those teachers face Beginnings in the same way, with the same questions: Will I be okay?  Did I make the right decision?  Will they . . . you . . . like me?  Accept me?  Will the kids . . . the teachers . . . my colleagues . . . the parents . . . the “principal” see my nervousness?  My fear?

Beginnings are really never easy.  But they do get easier.  A little.  A bit.  Eventually.

Perhaps if we understand that no matter the age, the position, the title, each of us faces the same feelings, thoughts, and worries.  The same uncertainty.  If we understand that we’re really mirror images of each other, we can make it easier for one another through that recognition, that understanding.  We’re in it together, after all.  And while never really easy, it does get easier.  Really.  Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

2 comments:

  1. All your beginnings and changes are familiar to me, Joseph. My husband and I have gone through a lot of them ourselves and embarking on more in our golden years watching grandchildren.

    Keep doing what you and Kim are doing living life to its fullest noticing and enjoying all the steps along the way.

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  2. Thank you, Pat. I appreciate your comment. Joe

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe