6 days til the first day of school

there’s always a sharp change around august.

for teachers, the change reflects more of a slow churn that speeds into the frenzy of nerves, sleepless nights, and bright young faces as we get closer and closer to the first day of school.

i celebrated my 30th birthday two weekends ago; and immediately following, i was back at my high school in crown heights, brooklyn preparing for the first day of teacher training. of course, it has taken several days to adjust. mentally, just the thought of relinquishing a summer of freedom, felt tremendously different. i was no longer carefree, up late, and waking up well past a 5 am alarm. physicially, i felt an even bigger difference.  sitting, staring at a projection screen for several hours a day was draining. i longed for my pajamas and a cool bed. or maybe to be outside in the sun instead of a stuffy music room.

last wednesday, my entire school journeyed to connecticut for a network-wide training. again, i held a lot of angst in the forefront of my mind. griping and groaning over my 4 am alarm and a two-hour commute. but something happened over the first day of network-wide training. this year holds higher stakes for me. i was fairly successful at my high school last year. a new hire, a dean, and a classroom teacher, i excelled on all fronts. this school year, i am a curriculum fellow for my content. i’m responsible for designing a year’s worth of lessons, material, and rationale for 9th grade college readiness. i’m super excited for the opportunity given my background in higher education.

so this year, i have to up the ante. i have to bring it.

initially, my state of mind was frustrated, limited, and uninvested. however, over time i became more and more excited about the coming school year. i have a very intense passion about the transformative and political act of education. the past two weeks reminded me of that.

and most honestly, i’m excited to see the students. many of them are already back at the school. some playing basketball, helping out around the building with teacher training and prepping classrooms for the new year. over time, it feels like a family again, a community.

after spending the last seven years working with students of color around getting into and through 4-year colleges, i find myself with more questions and challenges to invest students into higher education. i want to explore more about what it means to be a first-generation students; or even a second-generation student as the demographic for my families are rapidly changing. new approaches and solutions must be imagined to push students forward into new possibilities.