I was having a conversation with a colleague the other day about the creation of classes, and it seemed that both of us agreed that during the summer, a new course can be filled with life, endless possibilites, and, for the most part, connected students. Visions of being thrown into the air like a young Robin Williams cloud my brain, as I continue to scour tweets, blogs, websites, and other professional brians to build the PERFECT class! I think I’ve got it! All of a sudden the theoretical ideas I once had are simply replaced by reality, and I remember that I’m much heavier than a young Robin Williams and I don’t have enough students to carry me, nor do I believe that I have what it takes to connect enough dots to make everything fit together this first time around. Oh, how I miss summer theory!
But then….the bell rings. Class begins. GULP! Here goes…
For the first time in my five years of teaching, the fear has gone away, and I stare at a classroom of 30+ faces who are eager to learn and create but would never admit this. The question that I hope to continue to ask myself all year will be: Does this class still fit my summer theory, and if it doesn’t, what do I need to do to bring it back?
I never want to forget the looks on the faces of my students as I met them for the first time last week. My hope is that the eagerness doesn’t die, as we start to paint this blank canvas that we call a classroom. There have been years that I feared that my class wasn’t going very well, as the canvas began to become covered with ugly paint colors with a broken brush. Rather than seeking out new colors and new ways to cover the damaged (but fixable) canvas, I would continue using the same brush and the same colors, waiting for a new canvas for the next year. That cannot happen this year. I need to remember that if I don’t like how the painitng is looking, there is always a new approach, a new brush stroke to add, and a new way of hanging the art piece. This year, I look forward to handing the paint set to my students and seeing what they can make out of their canvas. I want to listen to their feedback and reflect on daily lessons. I have an idea and vision in my head as to what these new classes should look like, but how could I ever know? The classes hadn’t even started yet.
The vision has been set, and the ideas have been created. My job this year will be to give my students a map to see if they lead to those same ideas. Hopefully, many will take those ideas further and create new roads. I’m ready to take on the challenge!