There is something about the first days of a new school year that refreshes my heart, mind and soul. It’s not the smell of new supplies or the squeaky clean building with its shiny waxed floors. It’s not the aroma of freshly brewed coffee or the box of red ripe tomatoes in the teacher’s lounge with the sign that says “take some..PLEASE”. It’s not even that these are the only days of the year when my desk is relatively clear and perfectly organized.
Students. They bring backpacks, notebooks, pencils, calculators, new shoes, new outfits, new hairstyles, and new attitudes. But most notably, students bring life to school. Their collective energy fills the halls. Each group creates its own unique chemistry in each classroom. Without students the school building is like a heart without blood, like lungs without oxygen.
Nothing can replace the feeling of students running to me for a hug because they’ve missed me. Nothing can match when a student comes to my door to tell me that she really connected with something I said during class, so much that she cried. What can equal students coming in after school to ask for guidance? What compares to students asking questions, commenting and contributing on our class social media site?
During these first two days, I’ve listened to students tell me about their summer jobs, concerts they’ve attended, movies they’ve seen, and places they’ve visited. I’ve listened to them read their own poetry, essays or share their original comic strips that grew out of their summer reading. I have listened to their ideas for their Capstone projects, and though some are unsure, their genuine concern about making just the right choice tells me so much about them. It’s a reunion of shared purpose.
They infuse me with their energy. In those first two days, I commit myself to connecting with each and every student who walks through my door. This is more than a reunion.
This is my communion.