The start of the school year finds me wondering what will engage my students as I also get used to a new building, school philosophy, city and culture. Towards the end of summer, my family and I said our goodbyes to the Pacific Northwest and hopped on a plane, but our destination was a new one: Beijing. New faces are everywhere and the school is simply massive. Surely I walk the long way each time I need to go somewhere.
Several days ago during one of the many orientation sessions, the head of school made a presentation of the theme enjoy being new. Slow down and savor the newness. As teachers, the start of the year often equates to hectic days and long nights as we race around trying to complete the mile-long to-do list. Can this be avoided? Maybe not, but at the same time savor the newness. New relationships are being made – don’t just squirrel away in a room but make the time to smile and meet coworkers and other people in and out of the building. Explore. What hidden treasures lie on the campus that can be useful later in the year? Observe. What parts of the school culture are deeply embedded in the way things work? Question. How in the world do things get done or where are the magic doors that create shortcuts to the cross-campus jaunts? And, when the students arrive, savor every minute of it. They walk in as a group of excited beings fresh off a school break. What is it that they want to talk about? What have they been up to? What hidden talents lie beneath the surface of each boy or girl?
So, I’m pretty pumped up for the new year! If anyone out there has other nuggets of advice for extra appreciation of new starts or views on the upcoming year, pleas share!