We start school Monday. It’s Friday, right now, and that means that this weekend is all that really stands between me and the school year.
I’m lucky, though, that my district runs a three-day professional development conference. It’ll have on the order of 97 sessions presented over the three days, and to whatever degree we can we’ll allow staff to choose what sessions they attend. It’s a lovely three days of getting revved up and ready for the school year. For connecting with coworkers you haven’t seen in months. For getting the motor on and warmed up before the kiddies pour through the door.
I should mention that when I say “my district runs” what I mean is “the Ed-Tech Team runs.” That’s not a complaint- heck, it’s why I’ve added “event organizer” to my resume- but it does bring me to my point:
I’d never been involved in the organization of an event like this before last year. I had no practical idea or experience regarding what would need to be done, how to do it, or any other aspect of this thing. So. What’s that mean?
It means it’s a great analogue to this year. I tried something totally new. I thought about the problem, tried to address as many potential problems as I could, planned (and planned and planned), and then did the thing.
And nothing caught on fire. We, as educators, like to joke that we can “go down in flames” when a lesson fails. Or that our rooms might “catch on fire” if something goes wrong. But the reality is that classrooms don’t burst into flame. Mostly (Chemistry teachers, I’m looking at you…). There were things at that first conference that didn’t go as smoothly as you’d hope. There were things that had to be changed/addressed/corrected. There are things we’re doing differently this year.
But I’m not sure there’s a better example for how we (and our students) should approach this year. Try something new. Give it the best shot you can. Know that despite your best efforts it might not go as well as you hope. Be ok with that. Do it better next time.