Our first blog posting of the school year is from MNOHS math teacher, board member, and family coordinator Kim Breeden.
This seasonal transition from summer to fall is always hard for me, as it may be in your house. I’ve been thinking about this (and this blog post) for weeks. It began with a family outing to Valley Fair on Labor Day. For those of you in my generation, you may recall ValleyFair’s ads using the song “Summertime Blues.” All day long, I couldn’t get that song out of my head. I was feeling very annoyed as I’ve never understood how there could be such a thing as the summertime blues. As far as I was concerned, the blues are a result of the end of summertime.
I knew that once Labor Day was over—the unofficial end of summer—my boys and I would head back to school. This filled me with disappointment. The odd thing about this is that I love my job. My kids love their school. And, yet, I was deeply sad that summer was over, but not for the reasons you may think. Yes, I love spending time with my kids, the warm weather, and freedom. While I do miss those things, what was bothering me most was the lack of accomplishment during the summer months. On Memorial Day, the summer had laid large before me. I had glorious plans—both professionally and personally: class revisions, new geometry videos, bike rides, camping…And now, here it was Labor Day. In truth, there was much I accomplished this summer and if pressed I could easily make a list. But there was so much more I had meant to do.
"Now what?" I asked myself. I was not going to make Labor Day into another New Year's. There would be no resolutions for me. I knew I was not the first to feel this way. Adults and students alike can get caught up in what we meant to do that it prevents us from doing much of anything. I have had many students tell me, “I am so far behind. I feel overwhelmed. I just don’t know what to do.” My answer to them is usually pretty straight-forward. Start at the beginning and do something. Deal with school—and life—one small task at a time. One accomplishment leads to another and the success breeds success.
Remembering my advice to my students, I plodded forward, like many of us do each September: balancing school, and work, and family. And life happened. In the past few weeks I've accomplished many of those things that were on my summer “to do” list as well as many that weren’t. Fall is amazingly busy at MNOHS, in a wonderful sort of way. I connected with new students while evaluating their transcripts and creating class schedules to help them reach their goal of high school graduation. I collaborated with a co-worker to design a course to give extra support to students struggling with time management, motivation or personal issues that made attending school challenging. New geometry and calculus videos were created, feedback provided on assignments, and parent newsletters written.
They weren’t monumental achievements that sent me to cross anything off of my bucket list. I did, however, realize that fall, like summer, holds much potential. It is a more structured time, where routine and obligations provide us with stability. It is also a time to reconnect with people who are a constant in our lives 9 months of the year. It is a time to be proud of what we do each day, to remember the glories of our summer, the cold days ahead, and the fact that there is always another spring.