Sitting here on the eve of the 2016/17 school year I excitedly begin to wonder what the next ten months will yield for my immediate and extended family.
My oldest son Peter, a senior, will begin his final year of his public school education. I wonder what thrilling, nostalgic and anxious moments await as he looks to put himself in a position to continue his education at the collegiate level? Where will he apply? Who will accept his application? Who will he choose? Am I ready for him to leave and carve his own independent path? All of these questions will be answered in time but for now they are unsettling to say the least.
My youngest son Scott will enter his sophomore year of high school. Learning how to drive is sure to be high on his list of priorities. I wonder about the challenges that lie ahead as we all take an active role in this teenage rite of passage. I also wonder about his pursuit of academic success and his joy for learning. Will his relationships with his teachers this year start to positively influence his future path towards success? More importantly will he experience growth this year that builds confidence and causes him to seek more opportunities for success?
My niece Molly will start kindergarten and with it begin her public education journey. I wonder: Will she be a leader? Will technology influence her learning? Will her teacher be student centered? How will she relate and interact with her peers? I look forward to our Friday dinner conversations as these mysteries begin to be clarified. One thing is for sure; it will be difficult to surpass the state of wonder that surrounds those first 180 days.
My wife Jennifer begins her 28th year as a public school educator. In her current role as School Counselor she is responsible for the social and emotional well being of 700 students. I wonder how being taken out of the speciality rotation will positively impact her ability to meet the social/emotional needs of her students? I wonder if the students, staff and families truly understand how genuinely compassionate and caring she is about her school family? I wonder what new challenges she will be faced with as she continues to lead them with passion and purpose?
As I begin my 22nd year as a middle school educator there are plenty of things fueling my curiousity. I wonder what the gifts of this year's students will be? I wonder what their passions are? I wonder how they will demonstrate how much they care for each other? I wonder how they will share their voice and what their choices will be? I wonder how successful we all will be in building a positive classroom culture and community?
I look forward to the next ten months as we as a family prepare to confront new academic, social and emotional challenges. I wonder where the paths will lead us but, when all is said and done, and the last bell has rung, I wonder what I will be left to wonder about next?